The spider family Tetragnathidae (longjawed orb weavers) includes 966 described species (Platnick 2014), with around three dozen of these occurring in North America north of Mexico (Levi 2005; Platnick 2014).
Tetragnathids typically have long, thin bodies and legs, with the first pair of legs the longest and the third pair the shortest. The cheliceral bases and fangs are elongated. The male's palps are long and thin as well. The front two pairs of legs are often stretched out in front of the body, especially when the spider is at rest. During mating, the male and female tightly interlock their large jaws, but the long palps of the male are able to reach the female's reproductive opening even in this position. (Bradley 2013) Like most spiders, tetragnathids have eight eyes.
Most tetragnthids spin orb webs to capture prey. These webs are often oriented horizontally with an open hub. Many species build their webs near water or in vegetation above it, capturing emerging insects such as mosquitos. One exception is Leucauge, which often build webs at an oblique angle to the horizontal, often well away from water. Their conspicuous webs and silvery and green colors often make these spiders easy to notice. Nephila constructs vertical, bright yellow webs. Meta builds in dark places such as in caves or wells. Pachygnatha builds only in very early instars, in later stages becoming wandering hunters. (Levi 2005; Bradley 2013)
Tetragnathidae have been transferred in and out of the old families Epeiridae and Argiopidae, as well as the present-day Araneidae. Levi (1980, 1981) revised and illustrated the North American species (subsequently, Marusik and Koponen  determined that the North American Meta "menardi" is distinct from the European species and gave it a new name, "M. americana" but Dondale  found an earlier name, with priority, for the American Meta, M. ovalis).
- Álvarez-Padilla, F. 2007. Systematics of the spider genus Metabus O.P.-Cambridge, 1899 (Araneoidea: Tetragnathidae) with additions to the tetragnathid fauna of Chile and comments on the phylogeny of Tetragnathidae. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 151: 285–335.
- Álvarez-Padilla, F. and G. Hormiga. 2011. Morphological and phylogenetic atlas of the orb-weaving spider family Tetragnathidae (Araneae: Araneoidea). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 162(4): SI713-SI879.
- Álvarez-Padilla, F., D. Dimitrov, G. Giribet, and G. Hormiga. 2009. Phylogenetic relationships of the spider family Tetragnathidae (Araneae, Araneoidea) based on morphological and DNA sequence data. Cladistics 25: 109-146.
- Bradley, R.A. 2013. Common Spiders of North America. University of California Press, Berkeley.
- Dimitrov, D. and G. Hormiga. 2009. Revision and cladistic analysis of the orbweaving spider genus Cyrtognatha Keyserling, 1881 (Araneae, Tetragnathidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 317:1-140.
- Dimitrov, D. and G. Hormiga. 2011. An extraordinary new genus of spiders from Western Australia with an expanded hypothesis on the phylogeny of Tetragnathidae (Araneae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 161: 735-768.
- Dondale, C.D. 1995. A new synonym in the genus Meta (Araneae, Tetragnathidae). Journal of Arachnology 23(2): 125-126.
- Kuntner, M. and F. Álvarez-Padilla. 2006. Systematics of the Afro-Macaronesian spider genus Sancus (Araneae, Tetragnathidae). Journal of Arachnology, 34(1):113-125.
- Levi, H.W. 1980. The orb-weaver genus Mecynogea, the subfamily Metinae, and the genera Pachygnatha, Glenognatha, and Azilia of the subfamily Tetragnathinae north of Mexico (Araneae: Araneidae). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 149(1): 1-74.
- Levi, H.W. 1981. The American orb-weaver genera Dolichognatha and Tetragnatha north of Mexico (Araneae: Araneidae, Tertragnathidae). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 149(5): 271-318.
- Levi, H.W. 2005. Tetragnathidae. Pp. 232-234 in D. Ubick, P. Paquin, P.E. Cushing, and V. Roth (eds.) Spiders of North America: an Identification Manual. American Arachnological Society.
- Levi, H.W. 2008. On the tetragnathid genera Alcimosphenus, Leucauge, Mecynometa and Opas (Araneae, Tetragnathidae). Journal of Arachnology 36(1):167-170.
- Marusik, Y.M. and S. Koponen. 1992. A review of Meta (Araneae, Tetragnathidae), with description of two new species. Journal of Arachnology 20(2): 137-143.
- Platnick, N. I. 2014. The world spider catalog, version 14.5. American Museum of Natural History, online at http://research.amnh.org/entomology/spiders/catalog/index.html
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