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The spider family Zoropsidae includes 87 described species (Platnick 2014) (this number is likely to nearly double with the completion of a revision of Madagascar zoropsids by Charles Griswold and colleagues). The only zoropsid known from North America north of Mexico is an introduced species, Zoropsis spinimana, which is native from the Mediterranean region to Russia (Platnick 2014) and was probably accidentally introduced to central California, having been first recorded from the San Francisco Bay region in the fall of 1992 (Griswold and Ubick 2001; Bradley 2013). This large ground-dwelling spider, which superficially resembles a lycosid wolf spider (although the eye arrangement differs), frequently wanders into houses. Bradley (2013) notes that this spider sometimes assumes a defensive posture when disturbed, raising its front legs and spreading its fangs, but will run away if given a chance (Griswold and Ubick 2001 report that captive specimens were not aggressive). There are reported cases of humans being bitten by this species in France (Emerit and Bonaric 1995 cited in Griswold and Ubick 2001).

Ubick (2005) briefly reviewed the taxonomic history of the Zoropsidae.


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© Leo Shapiro

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