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The spider family Mimetidae (pirate spiders) includes 156 described species (Platnick 2013); in North America north of Mexico, there are 18 described species plus at least 10 undescribed ones, most of them occurring in the southwestern United States (Lew and Mott 2005). Mimetids are found on all continents except Antarctica. In North America, they are absent only from Arctic regions.

Mimetids, which do not build webs, feed on other spiders. Although some species are sit-and-wait predators, mimetids more typically stalk orbicularians (e.g., Araneidae, Theridiidae, and related families) on their own webs, attacking the spider on its leg. They will eat insects when the opportunity arises, but their venom is specialized to kill spiders rapidly. They have been observed eating the egg sacs of their spider prey as well.

Mimetids have a distinctive spination pattern on the tibiae and metatarsi of the first two pairs of legs (see illustrations in Lew and Mott 2005 and Bradley 2013). Lew and Mott (2005) reviewed the taxonomic history of this family. Natural history observations have been published for several mimetid species (e.g., Cutler 1972; Kloock 2001, 2012).


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