views updated

Scytodidae (spitting spiders; order Araneae, suborder Araneomorphae) Family of spiders whose common name refers to their unique mechanism for capturing prey. The high, domed carapace bears six eyes in three groups, and accommodates the large salivary and poison glands. Some species occupy a web and others are nocturnal, but all spit at their prey or enemies. The prosoma is lifted up and threads of sticky substance and poison are sprayed from the chelicerae in a zigzag fashion, pinning the prey to the substrate. Scytodes thoracica is an inhabitant of buildings in northern latitudes, and other species are tropical.