Ground Spiders – Gnaphosidae

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Ground spiders (family Gnaphosidae) are reddish, brown, gray, striped, black spiders, and include nearly 2,000 described species in over 100 genera, distributed worldwide. This makes the family the seventh largest known. New species are still being discovered. They are closely related to Clubionidae. Common genera include Gnaphosa, Drassodes, Micaria, Cesonia, Zelotes and many others. There are a few that are fairly common one is the Parson spider (Herpyllus ecclesiasticus) which is a blackish spider with white abdominal markings and measures about 13 mm.


Ground spiders are rather drably coloured, ranging from reddish, brown, charcoal grey to pinkish brown. Some, like Anzacia, have shiny, iridescent hairs. Typically they have large, cylindrical front spinnerets that are well separated from each other. The middle eyes in the rear row are usually angular rather than rounded in shape.


During the day, they hide under stones or logs. When they come inside of homes, they spend the day in dark, quiet places. People who are bitten by spiders often say that it happened when they picked up something that had been stored for a long time.


Ground spiders are nocturnal hunters. They forage aggressively for insects.


All ground spiders lack a prey-capture web and generally run prey down on the surface. They hunt at night and spend the day in a silken retreat.

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Female ground spiders make a thick-walled egg sacs which is guarded by the mother until the spiderlings hatch.


At present, no ground spiders are known to be seriously venomous to humans.

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Ground Spiders – Gnaphosidae

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