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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pirate spiders
Ero furcata egg sac
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Araneomorphae
Superfamily: Mimetoidea
Family: Mimetidae
Simon, 1881

others, see text

12 genera, 152 species
female Mimetus ryukyus

The family Mimetidae, commonly called pirate spiders, are spiders which typically feed on other spiders.

The family Mimetidae contains roughly 200 species divided among 12 genera, of which Mimetus and Ero are the most common. Mimetids are usually yellow and brown and are usually 3 to 7 mm long. Mimetids can be recognized by the rows of spine-like hairs on their long front legs; the rows consist of a long spine, followed by a series of progressively shorter ones.

Mimetidae usually hunt by picking at the strands on their prey's web to simulate the movements of either a trapped insect or a potential mate. When their prey comes to investigate, they are instead captured and eaten. Some mimetids have been observed to feed on insects as well. The spider-feeding habit presents problems in mating, and little is known about how the males court females to avoid being eaten. However, some male mimetids in the genus Gelanor, found in South America, have enormously long appendages which they use to inseminate females.



The Mimetidae are sometimes taxonomically grouped in the superfamilies Araneoidea or Palpimanoidea.


The categorization into subfamilies follows Joel Hallan's Biology Catalog.

  • Gelaninae Simon, 1881
  • Arochoides Mello-Leitão, 1935 (Brazil)
  • Gelanor Thorell, 1869 (Central and South America)
  • Melaenosiinae
  • Mimetinae Simon, 1881
  • Arocha Simon, 1893 (Peru, Brazil)
  • Australomimetus Heimer, 1986 (Australia)
  • Ero C. L. Koch, 1836 (Palearctic, Africa, South America, USA, Asia, Australia)
  • Mimetus Hentz, 1832 (worldwide)
  • Phobetinus Simon, 1895 (Vietnam, Sri Lanka)
  • Reo Brignoli, 1979 (USA, Kenya)
  • Oarcinae Simon, 1890
  • Gnolus Simon, 1879 (South America)
  • Oarces Simon, 1879 (South America)

See also


  • Platnick, N.I. & Shabad, M.U. (1993). A review of the pirate spiders (Aranae, Mimetidae) of Chile. American Museum novitates 3074. Abstract - PDF (12Mb) (with color pictures of O. reticulatus male and female, G. cordiformis m/f, G. blinkeni f, G. zonulatus f, G. spiculator f, H. collusor f; new description of G. blinkeni)

External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. a taxonomic family, within superfamily Mimetoidea - the pirate spiders
Wikispecies has information on:


See also

  • Arocha
  • Arochoides
  • Australomimetus
  • Ero
  • Gelanor
  • Gnolus
  • Kratochvilia
  • Melaenosia
  • Mimetus
  • Oarces
  • Phobetinus
  • Reo


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Ero aphana


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: Araneomorphae
Taxon: Neocribellatae
Series: Entelegynae
Superfamilia: Mimetoidea
Familia: Mimetidae
Subfamiliae: Gelaninae - Melaenosiinae - Mimetinae - Oarcinae

List of genera

Arocha - Arochoides - Australomimetus - Ermetus - Ero - Gelanor - Gnolus - Kratochvilia - Melaenosia - Mimetus - Oarces - Phobetinus - Reo


Mimetidae Simon, 1881


  • Harms, D.; Dunlop, J.A. 2009: A revision of the fossil pirate spiders (Arachnida: Araneae: Mimetidae). Palaeontology, 52: 779–802.
  • Harms, D.; Harvey, M.S. 2009: A review of the pirate spiders of Tasmania (Arachnida: Mimetidae) with description of a new species. Journal of arachnology, 37: 188–205.
  • Harms, D.; Harvey, M.S. 2009: Australian pirates: systematics and phylogeny of the Australasian pirate spiders (Araneae: Mimetidae), with a description of the Western Australian fauna. Invertebrate systematics, 23: 231-280.
  • Jackson, R.R.; Whitehouse, M.E.A. 1986: The biology of New Zealand and Queensland pirate spiders (Araneae, Mimetidae): aggressive mimicry, araneophagy and prey specialization. Journal of zoology (A), 210: 279–303.


  • Platnick, N. I. 2008. The World Spider Catalog, version 9.0. American Museum of Natural History. [1]

Vernacular names

English: pirate spiders
한국어: 해방거미과
日本語: センショウグモ科
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Mimetidae on Wikimedia Commons.


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