The Robinson Library >> Science >> Zoology >> Arachnids >> Order Araneae
Trap-Door Spiders

This order of spiders is so-named because of its habit of digging a burrow into the ground, which is lined with silk, and capping the burrow with a trap-door made from layers of silk and earth.

Trap-Door Spider

The spider usually lays a "trip-line" out from the trap-door that runs down into the burrow. When an insect or other potential prey disturbs the line, the spider darts out from its burrow and captures its prey. The trap-door is often coated with moss or some other form of camouflage, making it virtually impossible to detect until it is too late.

trap-door spider getting its meal
trap-door spider getting its meal

Most trap-door spiders are rather large, with some species being up to 4-1/2 inches across. They have four lungs instead of two, and their jaws work vertically instead of sideways. Each jaw also has a special row of teeth, used to help the spider dig its burrow.

Females seldom stray far from their burrows, especially when they have eggs or spiderlings. Eggs and spiderlings are cared for by the mother for a few weeks, with the mother feeding her young with excess food she has captured.

Most species of trap-door spider are nocturnal.

Trap-door spiders are widespread throughout the hottest regions of the world, with a few scattered species found in more temperate zones.


Scientific Classification

phylum Arthropoda
class Arachnida
order Araneae
suborder Mygalomorphae
family Ctenizidae

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The Robinson Library >> Science >> Zoology >> Arachnids >> Order Araneae

This page was last updated on July 14, 2017.