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Funnel-web tarantulas
Fossil range: Early Cretaceous-Recent
Masteria petrunkevitchi eye pattern
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Mygalomorphae
Infraorder: Tuberculotae
Superfamily: Dipluroidea
Family: Dipluridae
Simon, 1889

others, see text

24 genera, 174 species

Funnel-web tarantulas (super-family Dipluroidea[1], family Dipluridae), are a group of spiders in the infraorder Mygalomorphae, that have two pairs of booklungs, and chelicerae (fangs) that move up and down in a stabbing motion. A number of genera, including the Sydney funnel-web spider (Atrax robustus), used to be classified in this family but have now been moved to Hexathelidae.



Dipluridae lack a rastellum (stout conical spines) on their chelicerae. Their carapace is characterized by the head region not being higher than the thoracic region. Their posterior median spinnerets (silk-extruding organs) are much shorter than their posterior lateral spinnerets, which have three segments, and are elongated (almost as long as their opisthosoma). Most of the species are medium to small-sized spiders, with some, such as the endangered Microhexura montivaga, as small as 3 mm, while others may measure about 15 mm[2]. The cave species Masteria caeca is eyeless.


Members of this family often build rather messy funnel-webs. Some build silk-lined burrows instead of webs (Diplura, Trechona, some Linothele sp.). They generally build their retreats in crevices in earthen banks, the bark of trees, under logs or in leaf litter[2].


Dipluridae occur almost worldwide in the tropics. Most are found in Central and South America, and many occur in the Australian region. Indothele is found in India and Sri Lanka. Ischnothele is a neotropical genus, but one species occurs only in India. Several genera are found in Africa, with Thelechoris also occurring in Madagascar. Leptothele and Phyxioschema suthepium are endemic to Thailand, with the other Phyxioschema species found in Central Asia. Masteria is widely distributed, with species found in places such as Central America, Fiji, the Philippines, Queensland and New Guinea.[3]

The common genus in the United States is Euagrus, which builds its webs under stones in wet canyons. It is abundant in such areas as the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona.

Diplurids can be very common in banks and road cuts, such as in Trinidad.

Human interaction

There is no proper proof on the toxicity of their venom, but it is probably wise to avoid direct contact with the larger members (Diplura sp., Harmonicon sp., Linothele sp., and Trechona sp.).

The highly venomous genus Atrax used to be placed in this family, but is now in the Hexathelidae.


The grouping into subfamilies follows Raven, R. J. (1985a), and Coyle, F. A. (1984, 1986, 1988, 1995):

  • Diplurinae Simon, 1889
  • Clostes priscus (Menge, 1869)
  • Cretadiplura ceara Selden, 2005
  • Dinodiplura Selden, 2005 — fossil, Lower Cretaceous
  • Dinodiplura ambulacra Selden, 2005
  • Euagrinae Raven, 1979
  • Allothele Tucker, 1920 — Africa
  • Australothele Raven, 1984 — Australia
  • Caledothele Raven, 1991 — Australia
  • Carrai Raven, 1984 — New South Wales
  • Cethegus Thorell, 1881 — Australia
  • Euagrus Ausserer, 1875 — Southern USA to Costa Rica, South Africa, Taiwan
  • Microhexura Crosby & Bishop, 1925 — USA
  • Namirea Raven, 1984 — Australia
  • Phyxioschema Simon, 1889 — Central Asia
  • Stenygrocercus Simon, 1892 — New Caledonia
  • Ischnothelinae F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1897
  • Andethele Coyle, 1995 — Peru
  • Indothele Coyle, 1995 — India
  • Ischnothele Ausserer, 1875 — Mexico to Argentina, Caribic, India
  • Lathrothele Benoit, 1965 — Africa
  • Thelechoris Karsch, 1881 — Africa, Madagascar
  • Masteriinae Simon, 1889
  • Chilehexops Coyle, 1986 — Chile, Argentina
  • Masteria L. Koch, 1873 — Caribic, Central and South America, Oceania, Australia
  • Striamea Raven, 1981 — Colombia
  • Leptothele Raven & Schwendinger, 1995 — Thailand
  • Troglodiplura Main, 1969 — Australia

See also


  1. ^ Raven, R.J. 1985. The spider Infraorder Mygalomorphae (Araneae): cladistics and systematics. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 182: 1-180.
  2. ^ a b Murphy & Murphy 2000
  3. ^ Platnick 2008


  • Murphy, Frances & Murphy, John (2000): An Introduction to the Spiders of South East Asia. Malaysian Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur.
  • Platnick, Norman I. (2008): The world spider catalog, version 8.5. American Museum of Natural History.

Further reading

  • Chickering, A. M. (1964): Two new species of the genus Accola (Araneae, Dipluridae). Psyche 71: 174-180. PDF
  • Coyle, F. A. (1986): Chilehexops, a new funnelweb mygalomorph spider genus from Chile (Araneae, Dipluridae). Am. Mus. Novit. 2860: 1-10. PDF
  • Goloboff, Pablo A. (1994): Linothele cavicola, a new Diplurinae spider (Araneae, Dipluridae) from the caves in Ecuador. J. Arachnol. 22: 70-72. PDF
  • Selden, P.A., da Costa Casado, F. & Vianna Mesquita, M. (2005): Mygalomorph spiders (Araneae: Dipluridae) from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Lagerstätte, Araripe Basin, North-east Brazil. Palaeontology 49(4): 817-826. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2006.00561.x

External links



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Classis: Arachnida
Ordo: Araneae
Subordo: Opisthothelae
Infraordo: Mygalomorphae
Superfamilia: Dipluroidea
Familia: Dipluridae
Subfamiliae: Diplurinae - Euagrinae - Ischnothelinae - Masteriinae - incertae sedis

Genera overview: Allothele - Andethele - Australothele - Caledothele - Carrai - Cethegus - Chilehexops - Diplura - Euagrus - Harmonicon - Indothele - Ischnothele - Lathrothele - Leptothele - Linothele - Masteria - Microhexura - Namirea - Phyxioschema - Stenygrocercus - Striamea - Thelechoris - Trechona - Troglodiplura


Dipluridae Simon, 1889


  • Simon, E. 1889. Arachnides. In Voyage de M. E. Simon au Venezuela (décembre 1887-avril 1888). 4e Mémoire. Annales de la Société entomologique de France (6) 9: 169-220. [187]
  • Platnick, N. I. 2009. The World Spider Catalog, version 9.5. American Museum of Natural History. [1]

Vernacular names

English: Funnel-web tarantulas


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