Brief Summary

The spider family Anapidae (ground orbweavers) includes 154 species (Platnick 2013). Two species of these very small spiders are reported from North America. One of these, Gertschanapis shantzi, is known only from humid forests of Oregon and California, where it spins small horizontal orb webs, with radii emerging from the flat plane, in spaces within the leaf litter, among fern fronds, in rotting wood near the ground, and in similar locations. This species is rarely encountered, but can be locally common. The other putative North American representative, Comaroma mendocino, is known from a single berlese leaf litter sample from California and Coddington (2005) has suggested that it does not belong in the Palearctic anapid genus Comaroma at all, but instead likely belongs in the family Theridiidae.

(Coddington 2005; Bradley 2013)

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Comprehensive Description

FamilyANAPIDAE Simon, 1895

Type genus: Anapis Simon, 1895.

Diagnosis. Very small spiders, body length less than 2 mm; female palp reduced; male with abdominal scuta; genitalia simple.

Characters of family. Araneomorphae . 3 tarsal claws. Ecribellate. Genitalia simple (secondary "haplogyne "). Carapace with cephalic part raised; sternum broadly fused to carapace. Male with abdominal scuta. 8 or 6 eyes, anterior median eyes reduced or absent, other eyes arranged in 3 pairs. Female palp reduced, without claw. Spinnerets usually surrounded by a sclerotised ring. Booklungs replaced by anterior tracheal spiracles. Body length 1-2 mm.

Taxonomy. The family Anapidae is part of the symphytognathoid clade with the Theridiosomatidae , Mysmenidae , Synaphridae and Symphytognathidae . The composition of the family and its monophyly is questioned by several authors.

Distribution. There are more than 140 species in the World (PLATNICK, 2010), mainly in tropical regions. Most genera inhabit New Zeland, Australia and Africa. However, several genera occur in Asia. Only Comaroma simoni and the 3 species or Zangherella are found in Europe. 2 species live in the USA.

Species introduced in Europe. Pseudanapis aloha Forster , 1959, introduced in England and Germany.

Biology. These spiders usually are found in leaf litter and moss, on the floor of moist forests.

Some species construct small horizontal orb webs with very numerous radii and sticky spirals. The web is distorted by several out-of-plan threads that attach to substrate above the web. The diameter of the web is less than 3 cm.

Diagnosis of genera.

Zangherella species have 6 eyes; Comaroma species have 8 eyes, but the AME are very reduced and difficult to see.

The genera are distinguishable by the genitalia. In Comaroma the male palp has a more complicated bulb than in Zangherella .

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:33
Specimens with Sequences:32
Specimens with Barcodes:32
Species With Barcodes:10
Public Records:8
Public Species:3
Public BINs:6
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Barcode data

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The Anapidae are a family of rather small spiders with 145 described species in 35 genera. Most species are less than 2 mm long.[1]

In some species (such as Pseudanapis parocula) the pedipalps of the female are reduced to coxal stumps.[1]

Anapidae generally live in leaf litter and moss on the floor of rain forest. Many build orb webs with a diameter of less than 3 cm.[1]



Most genera inhabit New Zealand, Australia and Africa. However, several genera occur in Asia (Japan, China, Korea). Only Comaroma simoni and the three species of Zangherella are found in Europe; Gertschanapis shantzi and Comaroma mendocino live in the USA.[2]


Although the Micropholcommatidae were synonymized with this family by Schütt (2003), this move was not followed by most researchers.


male Conoculus lyugadinus

See also


  1. ^ a b c Murphy & Murphy 2000
  2. ^ Platnick 2008


  • Ramirez, M.J. & Platnick, N.I. (1999): On Sofanapis antillanca (Araneae, Anapidae) as a kleptoparasite of austrochiline spiders (Araneae, Austrochilidae). Journal of Arachnology 27(2): 547-549. PDF
  • Murphy, Frances & Murphy, John (2000): An Introduction to the Spiders of South East Asia. Malaysian Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur.
  • Schütt, K. (2003): Phylogeny of Symphytognathidae. Zoologica Scripta 32: 129–151.
  • Platnick, Norman I. (2008): The world spider catalog, version 8.5. American Museum of Natural History.
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