The spider family Ctenidae (wandering spiders) includes 490 described species (Platnick 2013). Members of this family are two-clawed lycosoid spiders with a distinctive eye arrangement: the eight eyes are arranged in three rows, with the pair of small anterior lateral eyes positioned far back in a middle row with the large posterior median eyes, and the large posterior lateral eyes just behind these. Ctenids often have a median stripe running down the back. The family is a mainly tropical group, with just eight species known to range north of Mexico, occurring from the southeastern United States west to Texas (and two of these species are introduced). (Ubick and Silva Dávila 2005; Bradley 2013) Some South American ctenids are dangerously venomous to humans. One ctenid species, Cupiennius salei, has been the subject of extensive investigations of sensory physiology and behavior. (Bradley 2013).
Ctenids are large nocturnal wandering hunters. Although some tropical species are arboreal and hunt on vegetation, all Nearctic species are strictly terrestrial. They may be collected at night using headlamps, under rocks and logs, and occasionally in caves. Egg sacs are either deposited on the substrate or carried with the chelicerae (Dippenaar-Schoeman and Jocqué 1997 cited in Ubick and Silva Dávila 2005). Occasionally, species of Acanthoctenus, Cupiennius, and Phoneutria are inadvertently transported with shipments of tropical fruits. Silva Dávila (2003) and Ubick and Silva Dávila 2005 (2005) review the complex and somewhat controversial taxonomic history of the Ctenidae. (Ubick and Silva Dávila 2005)
- Bradley, R.A. 2013. Common Spiders of North America. University of California Press, Berkeley.
- Dippenaar-Schoema, A.S. and R. Jocqué. 1997. African Spiders. An Identification Manual. Plant Protection Research Handbook No. 9. Agricultural Research Council, South Africa, Pretoria. 392 pp.
- 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
- Ubick, D. and D. Silva Dávila. 2005. Ctenidae. Pp. 83-84 in D. Ubick, P. Paquin, P.E. Cushing, and V. Roth (eds.) Spiders of North America: an Identification Manual. American Arachnological Society.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimen Records: 304
Specimens with Sequences: 176
Specimens with Barcodes: 167
Species With Barcodes: 17
Public Records: 4
Public Species: 1
Public BINs: 3
The wandering spiders are the members of the spider family Ctenidae. Previously, the term referred only to the genus Phoneutria but now usually refers to the entire family Ctenidae. The members of the genus Phoneutria are highly aggressive and venomous nocturnal hunters, and are the only wandering spiders known to pose a serious danger to humans. However, the venom of some other members of this family is very poorly known, meaning that all larger ctenids should be treated with caution. Some ctenids have marks and patterns that are attractive. Ctenids have a distinctive longitudinal groove on the top-rear of their oval carapace (some other spiders have a similar groove; e.g., Amaurobiidae).
The categorization into subfamilies follows that of Joel Hallan.
- Amauropelma Raven, Stumkat & Gray, 2001
- Ancylometes Bertkau, 1880
- Asthenoctenus Simon, 1897
- Celaetycheus Simon, 1897
- Centroctenus Mello-Leitao, 1929
- Ctenus Walckenaer, 1805
- Cupiennius Simon, 1891
- Isoctenus Bertkau, 1880
- Leptoctenus L. Koch, 1878
- Thoriosa Simon, 1910
- Ctenopsis Schmidt, 1956
- Incasoctenus Mello-Leitão, 1942
- Itatiaya Mello-Leitão, 1915
- Montescueia Carcavallo & Martínez, 1961
- † Nanoctenus Wunderlich, 1988 — fossil
- † Nanoctenus longipes Wunderlich, 1988 — Dominican amber
- Paravulsor Mello-Leitão, 1922
- Okamoto et al. (2009). Ctenus medius and Phoneutria nigriventer spiders venoms share noxious proinflammatory activities. J. Med. Entomol. 46(1): 58-66
- . McGavin, George C. (2002). Insects and Other Terrestrial Arthropods. New York: Dorling Kindersley Ltd. p. 230. ISBN 0-7894-9392-6.
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