AAS Australasian Arachnological Society

Comb-tailed Spiders

Hahniidae Bertkau 1878

(compiled by V.W. Framenau)


Hahniidae are easily identified by the arrangement of their spinnerets, which are situated in a transverse row of six; the outer pair is the longest. Hahniids are generally small spiders with a body length of only 1-6 mm.


Hahniidae prefer damp places, such as the base of shrubs in the vicinity of water, and can also be found in moss, under stones, in detritus and leaf litter. They build small sheet-webs near the ground surface. The spiders generally hide under grains of soil at the edge of the web.

Comb-tailed spiders in Australasia


Only six species of Hahniidae are described for Australia, half of which originally described by V.V. Hickman from Tasmania (see the Australian Faunal Directory listing for the Hahniidae):

  • Alistra astrolomae (Hickman, 1948)
  • Alistra pusilla (Rainbow, 1920)
  • Neoaviola insolens Butler, 1929
  • Scotospilus ampullarius (Hickman, 1948)
  • Scotospilus bicolor Simon, 1886 (type of Scotospilus)
  • Scotospilus wellingtoni (Hickman, 1948)

New Zealand

The New Zealand Hahniidae have been revised by Forster (1970) and are much better known than their counterparts from Australia. Currenly, 28 species in five genera are recognized (Platnick 2004): Alistra (7 species), Kapanga (10), Porioides (2), Rinawa (4) and Scotospilus (5).

South East Asia

Murphy and Murphy (2000) provide a brief account of the Hahniidae of South East Asia, that includes species in the genera Alistra, Hahnia and Neoantistea.


Forster, R.R. 1970. The spiders of New Zealand. Part III. Desidae, Dictynidae, Hahniidae, Amaurobioididae, Nicodamidae. Otago Museum Bulletin 3:1-184. Murphy, F. and Murphy, J. 2000. An Introduction to the Spiders of South East Asia. Malaysian Nature Society, United Selangor Press Sdn. Bhd.

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reference: AAS – Australasian Arachnological Society
online: http://www.australasian-arachnology.org/arachnology/araneae/hahniidae/
©2005 AAS – date: 2017/08/31

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