The spider family Antrodiaetidae (foldingdoor trapdoor spiders) includes 33 described species, 21 in the genus Antrodiaetus and 12 in the genus Aliatypus (Platnick 2013). These mygalomorph spiders occur in the continental United States, where they are widespread, and in British Columbia (Canada), as well as in Japan (according to Platnick , there are 31 species in North America north of Mexico and two species in Japan). The North American Antrodiaetus species inhabit three main geographic regions: the deciduous forests of the eastern United States, the forested “sky islands” of the southwestern United States, and various habitats throughout the northwestern United States and adjacent portions of southwestern Canada (Hendrixson and Bond 2007).
Antrodiaetids excavate burrows that they line with silk, at least near the entrance. Many Antrodiaetus species construct the foldingdoors that give this family its common name. These spiders build a burrow with a loose silk collar that is pliable and can be pulled together, forming an invisible seam. Another group of three species, which used to be classified in a separate genus (Atypoides) but are now merged into Antrodiaetus (Hendrixson and Bond 2007), build a burrow with a turret. Aliatypus species build a burrow with a thin, hinged trapdoor. When closed, collars and trapdoors are very difficult to locate because the external surface often closely matches the surrounding substrate. When active, these spiders open their collars or trapdoors at night and wait just inside the entrance to strike at passing prey that the spiders detect by sensing substrate vibrations. As is the case for many burrow-inhabiting spiders, most encounters with humans involve wandering males. When mature, males abandon their burrows during rainy periods and wander in search of females.
Key references on the natural history and systematics of these spiders are Coyle (1971) and Coyle and Icenogle (1994). Hendrixson and Bond (2005) demonstrated that Antrodiaetus unicolor is actually a complex of cryptic species. Cokendolpher et al. (2005) described four new Antrodiaetus species from southwestern Oregon (U.S.A.) and Hedin and Carlson (2011) described a new Aliatypus species from California.
(Coyle 2005; Bradley 2013)
- Bradley, R.A. 2013. Common Spiders of North America. University of California Press, Berkeley.
- Cokendolpher, J.C., R.W. Peck, and C.G. Niwa. 2005. Mygalomorph spiders from southwestern Oregon, USA, with descriptions of four new species. Zootaxa 1058: 1-34.
- Coyle, F.A. 1971. Systematics and natural history of the mygalomorph spider genus Antrodiaetus and related genera (Araneae: Antrodiaetidae). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 14 (6): 269-402.
- Coyle, F.A. 2005. Antrodiaetidae. Pp. 39-40 in D. Ubick, P. Paquin, P.E. Cushing, and V. Roth (eds.) Spiders of North America: an Identification Manual. American Arachnological Society.
- Coyle, F.A. and W.R. Icenogle. 1994. Natural history of the Californian trapdoor spider genus Aliatypus (Araneae: Antrodiaetidae). Journal of Arachnology 22: 225-255.
- Hedin, M. and D. Carlson. 2011. A new trapdoor spider species from the southern Coast Ranges of California (Mygalomorphae, Antrodiaetidae, Aliatypus coylei, sp. nov.), including consideration of mitochondrial phylogeographic structuring. Zootaxa 2963, 55-68.
- Hendrixson, B.E. and J.E. Bond. 2005. Testing species boundaries in the Antrodiaetus unicolor complex (Araneae: Mygalomorphae: Antrodiaetidae): “Paraphyly” and cryptic diversity. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36: 405-416.
- Hendrixson, B.E. and J.E. Bond. 2007. Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of an ancient Holarctic lineage of mygalomorph spiders (Araneae: Antrodiaetidae: Antrodiaetus). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 42: 738-755.
- Michalik, P., W. Reiher, M. Tintelnot-Suhm, F. A. Coyle, and G. Alberti. Female genital system of the folding-trapdoor spider Antrodiaetus unicolor (Hentz, 1842) (Antrodiaetidae, Araneae): ultrastructural study of form and function with notes on reproductive biology of spiders. Journal of Morphology 263: 284-309.
- Platnick, N. I. 2013. The world spider catalog, version 14.0. American Museum of Natural History, online at http://research.amnh.org/entomology/spiders/catalog/index.html.
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