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Oonopid spiders
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Superfamily: Dysderoidea
Family: Oonopidae
Simon, 1890

 many others

72 genera, 487 species

The spider family Oonopidae (Goblin spiders) includes about 459 species in about 65 genera worldwide. The type genus of the family is Oonops Keyserling, 1835. They are generally tiny (1-3 mm) haplogyne araneomorph spiders. Some have hardened plates (scuta) on their abdomens. Oonopids usually have six eyes, the anterior median eyes having been lost. However, four-eyed (Opopaea viamao), two-eyed (e.g. Coxapopha, Diblemma) and even completely eyeless species (e.g. Cousinea, the cave-dwelling Blanioonops) are also known. The family is permeated with unusual morphological traits, many of which are limited to males. Examples include heavily modified mouthparts (e.g. Coxapopha, Xyccarph), sternal pouches (sometimes alternatively called holsters; e.g. Grymeus) and extensions of the carapace (e.g. Ferchestina, Unicorn). The male pedipalps are also often highly modified. The genus Opopaea, for example, exhibits an expanded palpal patella while male Ischnothyreus are characterized by completely sclerotized, pitch-black pedipalps. Members of the genus Orchestina are believed to be able to jump, as both sexes have greatly enlarged femora on the fourth leg pair. Oonopidae are seldom seen by people as they are too small to be easily noticed. Generally, oonopid spiders are found in the leaf litter layer and under rocks but they also constitute a significant component of the spider fauna living in the canopy of tropical rain forests. Three blind Afrotropical genera (Anophthalmoonops, Caecoonops, Termitoonops) are exclusively found in termite nests. A few species, such as the pantropical Heteroonops spinimanus, are thought to be parthenogenetic as no males have so far been collected.



See List of Oonopidae species for a complete list of described genera and species.

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

  • Gamasomorphinae
  • Brignolia Dumitrescu & Georgescu, 1983 (Cuba, Yemen, Seychelles)
  • Camptoscaphiella Caporiacco, 1934 (Bhutan, Nepal, China)
  • Diblemma O. P.-Cambridge, 1908 (Seychelles, introduced in Britain)
  • Dysderina Simon, 1891 (Central to South America, Africa, Philippines)
  • Epectris Simon, 1893 (Southeast Asia)
  • Gamasomorpha Karsch, 1881 (Africa, Australia, Asia, USA to Argentina, Hawai'i, Socotra))
  • Grymeus Harvey, 1987 (Australia)
  • Hytanis Simon, 1893 (Venezuela)
  • Ischnothyrella Saaristo, 2001 (Seychelles)
  • Ischnothyreus Simon, 1893 (Asia, USA to Panama))
  • Kapitia Forster, 1956 (New Zealand)
  • Kijabe Berland, 1914 (Africa)
  • Lionneta Benoit, 1979 (Seychelles)
  • Lisna Saaristo, 2001 (Seychelles)
  • Lucetia Dumitrescu & Georgescu, 1983 (Cuba, Venezuela)
  • Marsupopaea Cooke, 1972 (Colombia)
  • Matyotia Saaristo, 2001 (Seychelles)
  • Myrmecoscaphiella Mello-Leitão, 1926 (Brazil)
  • Myrmopopaea Reimoser, 1933 (Sumatra)
  • Neoxyphinus Birabén, 1953 (Argentina, Guyana)
  • Nephrochirus Simon, 1910 (Namibia)
  • Opopaea Simon, 1891 (Australia, Americas, Africa, Asia, Rapa Nui)
  • Patri Saaristo, 2001 (Seychelles)
  • Pelicinus Simon, 1891 (USA, Seychelles)
  • Plectoptilus Simon, 1905 (Java)
  • Prida Saaristo, 2001 (Seychelles)
  • Prodysderina Dumitrescu & Georgescu, 1987 (Venezuela, Lesser Antilles)
  • Pseudoscaphiella Simon, 1907 (South Africa)
  • Pseudotriaeris Brignoli, 1974 (China, Japan)
  • Scaphiella Simon, 1891 (USA to Argentina, Hawai'i)
  • Silhouettella Benoit, 1979 (Europe to Central Asia, North Africa, Socotra, Seychelles)
  • Triaeris Simon, 1891 (India, Africa, USA to Venezuela, West Indies)
  • Xyphinus Simon, 1893 (Malaysia, Borneo, Singapore)
  • Yumates Chamberlin, 1924 (Mexico)
  • Oonopinae Simon, 1890
  • Anophthalmoonops Benoit, 1976 (Angola)
  • Aprusia Simon, 1893 (Sri Lanka)
  • Australoonops Hewitt, 1915 (South Africa)
  • Blanioonops Simon & Fage, 1922 (East Africa)
  • Caecoonops Benoit, 1964 (Congo)
  • Calculus Purcell, 1910 (South Africa)
  • Heteroonops Dalmas, 1916 (USA to Panama, West Indies, Seychelles, St. Helena)
  • Hypnoonops Benoit, 1977 (Congo)
  • Oonopinus Simon, 1893 (Europe, Panama to Argentina, Seychelles, Hawai'i, Sierra Leone, New Caledonia)
  • Oonopoides Bryant, 1940 (Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba)
  • Oonops Templeton, 1835 (Europe, Africa, Americas, Tasmania)
  • Orchestina Simon, 1882 (Asia, Africa, USA, Europe, Tasmania)
  • Simonoonops Harvey, 2002 (Venezuela)
  • Socotroonops Saaristo & van Harten, 2002 (Socotra)
  • Stenoonops Simon, 1891 (West Indies, Panama to Venezuela)
  • Sulsula Simon, 1882 (Namibia, Algeria, Egypt)
  • Tapinesthis Simon, 1914 (Europe, introduced to the USA)
  • Telchius Simon, 1893 (Algeria, Morocco, South Africa)
  • Termitoonops Benoit, 1964 (Congo)
  • Unicorn Platnick & Brescovit, 1995 (South Africa)
  • Wanops Chamberlin & Ivie, 1938 (Mexico)
  • Xestaspis Simon, 1884 (Africa, Australia, Micronesia, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica)
  • Xiombarg Brignoli, 1979 (Brazil, Argentina)
  • Xyccarph Brignoli, 1978 (Brazil)
  • Zyngoonops Benoit, 1977 (Congo)
  • Aridella Saaristo, 2002 (Seychelles)
  • Cousinea Saaristo, 2001 (Seychelles)
  • Coxapopha Platnick, 2000 (Panama, Brazil, Peru)
  • Decuana Dumitrescu & Georgescu, 1987 (Venezuela)
  • Dysderoides Fage, 1946 (Venezuela, India)
  • Farqua Saaristo, 2001 (Farquhar Islands)
  • Ferchestina Saaristo & Marusik, 2004 (Russia)
  • Khamisia Saaristo & van Harten, 2006 (Yemen)
  • Megabulbus Saaristo, 2007 (Israel)
  • Megaoonops Saaristo, 2007 (Israel)
  • Ovobulbus Saaristo, 2007 (Egypt, Israel)
  • Pescennina Simon, 1903 (Venezuela)
  • Semibulbus Saaristo, 2007 (Israel)

Fossil record

Oonopidae are frequently encountered as subfossils preserved in copals and as fossils preserved in amber. Oonopids even occur in more amber deposits than any other spider family, which may be accounted for by their widespread distribution, small size and wandering behaviour as amber appears to be biased towards trapping such spiders. In contrast, sedimentary fossils of Oonopidae are unknown. Most fossil oonopids described from amber are assigned to the extant genus Orchestina. This genus was already widespread by the end of the Cretaceous, as indicated by specimens found in amber dating back approximately 100 million years. This makes Orchestina the oldest extant spider genus along with the Archaeidae. Orchestina's fossil record even includes a pair of spiders that was entombed during copulation.

See also


  • How to Know the Spiders by B. J. Kaston. Dubuque, 1953.
  • Jocqué, R. & Dippenaar-Schoeman, A.S. (2006). Spider Families of the World. Royal Museum for Central Africa. 336 pp. ISBN 90-75894-85-6.
  • Penney, D. (2004). New spiders in upper Cretaceous amber from New Jersey in the American Museum of Natural History (Arthropoda: Araneae). Palaeontology 47(2): 367-375.
  • Penney, D. (2006). Fossil oonopid spiders in Cretaceous ambers from Canada and Myanmar. Palaeontology 49(1): 229-235.
  • Platnick, N.I. & Brescovit, A.D. (1995). On Unicorn, a new genus of the spider family Oonopidae (Araneae, Dysderoidea). American Museum Novitates 3152: 1-12. PDF

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: Araneomorphae
Taxon: Neocribellatae
Series: Haplogynae
Superfamilia: Dysderoidea
Familia: Oonopidae
Subfamiliae: Gamasomorphinae - Oonopinae - incertae sedis

List of genera

Anophthalmoonops - Antoonops - Aprusia - Aridella - Australoonops - Blanioonops - Brignolia - Caecoonops - Calculus - Camptoscaphiella - Cousinea - Coxapopha - Decuana - Diblemma - Dysderina - Dysderoides - Epectris - Farqua - Ferchestina - Gamasomorpha - Grymeus - Heteroonops - Hypnoonops - Hytanis - Ischnothyrella - Ischnothyreus - Kapitia - Khamisia - Kijabe - Lionneta - Lisna - Lucetia - Marsupopaea - Matyotia - Megabulbus - Megaoonops - Myrmecoscaphiella - Myrmopopaea - Nale - Neoxyphinus - Nephrochirus - Oonopinus - Oonopoides - Oonops - Opopaea - Orchestina - Ovobulbus - Patri - Pelicinus - Pescennina - Plectoptilus - Prida - Prodysderina - Pseudoscaphiella - Pseudotriaeris - Scaphiella - Semibulbus - Silhouettella - Simonoonops - Socotroonops - Spinestis - Stenoonops - Sulsula - Tapinesthis - Telchius - Termitoonops - Triaeris - Trilacuna - Unicorn - Wanops - Xestaspis - Xiombarg - Xyccarph - Xyphinus - Yumates - Zyngoonops


Oonopidae Simon, 1890


  • Burger, M. 2009: Female genitalia of goblin spiders (Arachnida: Araneae: Oonopidae): a morphological study with functional implications. Invertebrate biology, 128: 340-358. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7410.2009.00181.x
  • Saaristo, M.I.; Marusik, Y.M. 2009: A new genus and species of oonopid spider (Araneae, Oonopidae) from Ukraine. ZooKeys, 24: 63–74. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.24.278


  • Platnick, N. I. 2009. The World Spider Catalog, version 9.5. American Museum of Natural History. [1]

Vernacular names

English: goblin spiders
한국어: 알거미과
日本語: タマゴグモ科
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Oonopidae on Wikimedia Commons.


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