Brief Summary

Read full entry

The spider family Oonopidae (goblin spiders) includes 1135 described species, with around 30 known from North America north of Mexico (mainly from Florida and the southwestern United States), including the European Tapinesthis inermis, which has been introduced to North America (Platnick 2013). The number of known species is likely to increase substantially as a result of ongoing investigations.

Most oonopids are tiny (typically no more than a few millimeters in length), usually six-eyed spiders that occur in leaf litter or similar situations (such as wood rat nests) or under rocks. Some enter homes, especially in the northern part of the range. These spiders build silken molting chambers, but no web. Oonopids move with short, jerky forward and backward motions, although they are capable of running rapidly, and some species can hop (e.g., Orchestina saltitans in the eastern United States). Some species are known only as females and are believed to be parthenogenetic (e.g., Heteroonops spinimanus; Saaristo 2001). Ubick (2005) reviewed the taxonomic history of this family in North America north of Mexico and noted that the family was badly in need of revision.

(Ubick 2005; Bradley 2013)

The Oonopidae have, in fact,  been the focus of an international multi-investigator Planetary Bodiversity Inventory funded by the National Science Foundation. More information about this effort, and about oonopids, can be found on the Oonopidae website at the American Museum of Natural History.


Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Leo Shapiro

Supplier: Leo Shapiro

Belongs to 0 communities

This taxon hasn't been featured in any communities yet.

Learn more about Communities


EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!