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Eophrynus is an extinct genus of arachnids from the extinct order Trigonotarbida, which lived during the Late Carboniferous period in Europe. The genus was first described in 1871 by Henry Woodward (geologist).[1] The name comes from Eo, meaning 'dawn', and Phrynus, a extant genus of whip spider (order Amblypygi).

Two species have been recognised:

Species of Eophrynus, as with other tribonotarbids, were similar to modern spiders but could not produce silk and the back-half of their body was made up of small plates.[2]

The English species, E. prestvici, is known from a handful of good quality fossils preserved inside siderite concrections. Recent X-ray imaging revealed that these arachnids were covered by protective spikes.[2][3]

Temporal range: Late Carboniferous, 318–299 Ma
Eophrynus prestvicii BU669
Fossil of Eophrynus prestvicii (BU 699, Lapworth Museum, University of Birmingham, UK), whitened with ammonium chloride to improve contrast. A. Dorsal view. B. Ventral view.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Trigonotarbida
Family: Eophrynidae
Genus: Eophrynus
Woodward, 1871


  1. ^ Woodward, H. 1871. On the discovery of a new and very perfect Arachnide from the ironstone of the Dudley Coal-field. Geological Magazine, 8 (9): 1–4.
  2. ^ a b "X-rays bring extinct spiders back to life". Planet Earth online. 5 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
  3. ^ Russell Garwood, Jason A. Dunlop & Mark D. Sutton (2009). "High-fidelity X-ray micro-tomography reconstruction of siderite-hosted Carboniferous arachnids". Biology Letters. 5 (6): 841–844. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.0464. PMC 2828000Freely accessible. PMID 19656861.

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