Scytodes is a genus of spitting spiders that occur all around the world. The most widely distributed species is Scytodes thoracica, which originally had a palearctic distribution, but has been introduced to North America, Argentina, India, Australia, and New Zealand.[1] The genus was first described by Pierre André Latreille in 1804.[2]

Temporal range: Cretaceous–Present
Scytodes thoracica (aka).jpg
Scytodes thoracica
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Araneomorphae
Family: Scytodidae
Genus: Scytodes
Latreille, 1804[1]
Type species
Scytodes thoracica
(Latreille, 1802)

225, see text



Females carry their eggs until they hatch. Upon hatching, the juvenile spiders remain in their mother's web. They cooperatively capture and feed on prey caught in the web. Upon reaching sexual maturity, the young spiders leave the web, move a short distance away and exhibit solitary behavior.[3]


The spitting from which its name derives is used as a method of trapping prey[4] or escaping predators.[5] Sticky gum is expelled from their fangs and can be shot up to ten body lengths from the spider.[4]


As of July 2020 Scytodes contains 222 species and two subspecies. They are found in South America, the Caribbean, Central America, Africa, Europe, Asia, North America, Oceania, and on the Pacific Islands:[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Gen. Scytodes Latreille, 1804". World Spider Catalog Version 21.0. Natural History Museum Bern. 2020. doi:10.24436/2. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  2. ^ Latreille, P. A. (1804). "Tableau methodique des Insectes". Nouveau Dictionnaire d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris. 24: 129–295.
  3. ^ Li, Daiqin; Jackson, Robert R.; Barrion, Alberto T. (March 1999). "Parental and predatory behaviour of Scytodes sp., an araneophagic spitting spider (Araneae: Scytodidae) from the Philippines". Journal of Zoology. 247 (3): 293–310. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1999.tb00993.x.
  4. ^ a b McAlister, W. (1960). "The spitting habit in the spider Scytodes intricate Banks (Family Scytodidae)". Texas Journal of Science. 12: 17–20.
  5. ^ Gilbert, C.; Rayor, L.S. (1985). "Predatory behavior of spitting spiders (Araneae: Scytodidae) and the evolution of prey wrapping" (PDF). Journal of Arachnology. 13: 231–241. Retrieved 24 May 2018.