Palpimanidae, also known as palp-footed spiders, is a family of araneomorph spiders first described by Tamerlan Thorell in 1890. They are widely distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, the Mediterranean and one in Uzbekistan, but not Australia. They are not common and there is a high degree of endemism.
Temporal range: Cretaceous–present
|Male Sarascelis chaperi|
|A spider in the family Palpimanidae|
|18 genera, 155 species|
The most obvious features of the Palpimanidae are the front legs, which are disproportionately powerful and heavily sclerotised. The abdomen is round to oval, evenly sprinkled with short straight hairs that in some species are sufficiently dense to form a close-fitting coat, though most species look nearly smooth. Usually the cephalothorax is somewhat less obviously hairy. The abdomen is evenly rounded without conspicuous sculpting, and in many species is elongated into an olive shape twice as long as the cephalothorax, giving the spider a vaguely torpedo-shaped appearance. Instead of having six spinnerets like most spiders, the Palpimanidae have only two. Colour patterns generally are subdued and simple. A few genera, such as Diaphorocellus have light patches on a dark abdomen. Most others are brownish or reddish to dark in general colour, but as a rule the cephalothorax is more heavily sclerotised and darker than the abdomen, as well as glossier. There are eight eyes in two rows of four, but in some species the outer anterior and posterior eyes are close together, which has caused some people to think there are just six eyes. In some species the chelicerae have stimulatory organs, microscopic ridges, with pegs that scrape over them when they rub the chelicerae together. The probable function is to signal to each other in mating, though it might have some defensive role as well.
The behaviour of the Palpimanidae is in general poorly investigated. All species produce ecribellate silk. They certainly are ground dwellers and do not spin webs, though they many do spin shelters for themselves in holes or under rocks. Palpimanus gibbulus at least, lives in leaf litter or under stones in dry soils. Many or most species go wandering at night, either hunting or seeking mates. They generally keep their very strong first legs held up in front of themselves while walking slowly at night, and on encountering possible prey they may feel it gently before grabbing it very rapidly and powerfully, as shown in some on-line video material.
Anisaedus is a genus of palp-footed spiders that was first described by Eugène Louis Simon in 1893.Badia rugosa
Badia is a monotypic genus of Senegalese palp-footed spiders containing the single species, Badia rugosa. It was first described by Carl Friedrich Roewer in 1961, and is only found in Senegal.Boagrius
Boagrius is a genus of palp-footed spiders that was first described by Eugène Louis Simon in 1893. As of June 2019 it contains only two species, found only in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Tanzania: B. incisus and B. pumilus.Chedima
Chedima is a monotypic genus of Moroccan palp-footed spiders containing the single species, Chedima purpurea. It was first described by Eugène Louis Simon in 1873, and is only found in Morocco.Chedimanops
Chedimanops is a genus of spiders in the Palpimanidae family. It was first described in 2017 by Zonstein & Marusik. As of 2017, it contains 2 species, both from Congo.Diaphorocellus
Diaphorocellus is a genus of African palp-footed spiders that was first described by Eugène Louis Simon in 1893.Fernandezina
Fernandezina is a genus of South American palp-footed spiders that was first described by M. Birabén in 1951.Hybosida
Hybosida is a genus of East African palp-footed spiders that was first described by Eugène Louis Simon in 1898.Hybosida dauban
Hybosida dauban is a species of spider found on Silhouette Island in the Seychelles.Levymanus
Levymanus is a genus of palp-footed spiders that was first described by S. Zonstein & Y. M. Marusik in 2013. As of June 2019 it contains only two species, found in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Ethiopia: L. gershomi and L. ras.Notiothops
Notiothops is a genus of Chilean palp-footed spiders that was first described by Norman I. Platnick, C. J. Grismado & M. J. Ramírez in 1999.Otiothops
Otiothops is a genus of palp-footed spiders that was first described by W. S. MacLeay in 1839.Palpimanoidea
The Palpimanoidea or palpimanoids, also known as assassin spiders, are a group of araneomorph spiders, originally treated as a superfamily. As with many such groups, its circumscription has varied. As of September 2018, the following five families were included:
StenochilidaeMany palpimanoids specialize in preying on other spiders, hence the name "assassin spiders". They have various adaptations for catching prey, including enlarged spade-like front legs, and heads raised up on a "neck" with long chelicerae ("jaws"). Fossils suggest that the group was once widespread, but most species are now found in the Southern Hemisphere. Morphological studies support the monophyly of the group, although molecular studies have produced different results.Palpimanus
Palpimanus is a genus of palp-footed spiders that was first described by L. Dufour in 1820.Sarascelis
Sarascelis is a genus of palp-footed spiders that was first described by Eugène Louis Simon in 1887.Scelidocteus
Scelidocteus is a genus of African palp-footed spiders that was first described by Eugène Louis Simon in 1907.Scelidomachus
Scelidomachus socotranus is a species of spider found on the island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean. It is the only member of its genus.Steriphopus
Steriphopus is a genus of palp-footed spiders that was first described by Eugène Louis Simon in 1887.
Extant Araneae families