The spider family Tengellidae includes 57 described species; 41 of these occur in the United States, with 33 of these 41 species having been described by Platnick and Ubick in their revisions of Socalchemmis (2001), Anachemmis (2005), and Titiotus (2008). In the U.S., Licranoides occurs in the Appalachian Mountains (Platnick 1999), Lauricius from Arizona to New Mexico and north into Colorado, and the remaining U.S. genera (Socalchemmis, Anachemmis, and Titiotus) are found in California, with some extension to the north and south (Ubick and Richman 2005).
Tengellids are relatively large spiders with long and relatively stout legs; their key shared characters are difficult to see without a microscope (Bradley 2013). They are ground-dwelling spiders that hide under rocks and debris during the day, emerging to wander and hunt at night. They are found largely in forests, living around rock outcrops and in thick leaf litter, but are often found in caves as well. Specimens have been collected wandering on the ground at night, under rocks, and especially in pitfall traps. Egg sacs may be attached to the substrate and guarded by the female (Lauricius) or suspended from a thread (Titiotus). (Ubick and Richman 2005)
A common association between the Costa Rican tengellid Tengella radiata and the uloborid spider Philoponella vicina has been investigated by Fincke (1981). Eberhard et al. (1993) also studied this association, as well as associations between T. radiata and a number of other arthropods, especially the phorid fly Megaselia scalaris, the plokiophilid bug Lipokophila eberhardi, and the mysmenid spider Mysmenopsis tengellacompa. Eberhard et al. concluded that the nature of the relationships among these species included examples of competition, parasitism, predation, and commensalism.
The genera now included in the family Tengellidae were formerly placed in several other families. The delineation of this family is still not entirely resolved, as discussed in the brief review of this family's taxonomic history by Ubick and Richman (2005).