Lamponid Ground Spiders
Lamponidae Platnick, 1990
(compiled by Volker Framenau)
The Lamponidae belong to the "higher gnaphosoid" spiders which also include families such as the Prodidomidae and Gnaphosidae. These groups are characterised by the loss of a sclerotised, complete distal ring on the anterior lateral spinnerets (Platnick, 2004). The Lamponidae can be divided into three different subfamilies, the Pseudolamponinae (two genera and 20 species), Lamponinae (ten genera and 82 species) and Centrothelinae (11 genera and 89 species (Platnick 2000, 2004).
Platnick (2000) provided an exhaustive systematic revision of the Australasian Lamponidae, including a key to subfamilies, genera and species and distribution maps. This monograph of more than 330 pages is available free of charge online, and can be downloaded from the website of the American Museum of Natural History here) (be wary of the file size, 55MB!). The contents of this study is also available in an online version for browsing. An additional study describes a new genus and species within the Lamponinae with a dorsally flattened body, Platylampona mazeppa Platnick, 2004 (also available online here).
The bite of White-tailed Spiders, mainly the most common Lampona cylindrata, was for a long time suspected to cause necrotic ulcers. Recent detailed follow-up studies of victims of White-tailed Spider bites showed that these spiders only cause comparatively mild symptoms after bites. For more detail, see our section of Urban Myths.
Platnick, N.I. 2000. A relimitation and revsion of the Australasian ground spider family Lamponidae (Araneae: Gnaphosoidea). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 245, 1-330.
Platnick, N.I. 2004. On a third group of flattened ground spiders from Australia (Araneae, Lamponidae). American Museum Novitates 3462, 1-7.