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The 15 described species in the spider family Diguetidae are known only from the New World (Platnick 2013). Diguetids have six eyes arranged in three pairs (the missing eyes are apparently the anterior median eyes). One of the two recognized genera, Diguetia, includes a single species known from Argentina along with another 10 species known from Mexico and the southwestern United States (according to Bradley [2013], seven of these 10 species are known from the United States). The other genus, Segestrioides, includes four South American species. (Ubick 2005; Platnick 2013)

Like most haplogynes, diguetids have six eyes, but unlike most haplogynes (with the exception of the Pholcidae), Diguetia build extensive snare webs on shrubs or cacti (Ubick 2005). The web is a sheet with surrounding tangle and a vertical tubular retreat, in which females deposit their egg sacs (Boulton and Polis 1999). According to Eberhard (1967), the spiders move along the underside of the sheet and capture prey intercepted by the surrounding tangle web.

Boulton and Polis (1999) undertook a three-year study in the Coachella Valley, California, of reproduction, life history, phenology, microhabitat, prey, and dispersion of Diguetia mojavea, a species that is often abundant in California deserts.

Starrett and Waters (2007) detected evidence of past positive natural selection on HSP70 proteins, a group of highly conserved proteins with important roles in thermotolerance, in the desert-dwelling and heat-tolerant diguetids.


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© Leo Shapiro

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