Stegodyphus Simon, 1873

Diversity: 21 species described. According to (Kraus and Kraus 1988, 1992) the genus comprise three species groups:

I. S. arficanus group (S. africanus, S. hildebrandti, S. lineifrons, S. mimosarum, S. sabulosus, S. simplicifrons, S. tingelin),

II. S. dufouri group (S. bicolor, S. dufouri, S. manaus, S. manicatus, S. sarasinorum, S. pacificus)

III. S. mirandus group: (S. dumicola, S. lineatus,  S. mirandus , S. nathistmus, S. tentoriicola, S. tibialis).

Distribution: Mainly Africa and southern Asia (from Midle East to India). Southern Europe (S. lineatus) and Asia toward Thailand and China (S. tibialis). S. manaus is reported from central Brazil (Kraus and Kraus 1992), since the previous reports of Eresidae (Loureediela (formerly Stegodyphus) annulipes) in Brazil were erroneous, it is only species of velvet spider reported from New World. The description of S. manaus is based on single set of preserved material and no further collections of this species have been reported. My personal opinioin is that S. manaus actually lives somewhere in Old World and specimens were introduced, or the vial with spiders was just mislabelled. The lack of any other finds from New world and my experiences with low resistance of eresids to wet environmentwith (type locality of S. manaus is in tropics) make me doubt any about presence of velvet spiders in Americas.

Appearance: Medium spiders. Coloration usually lacking dark background often motley or pale than other eresids. Adult males sometimes differs in coloration, most contrast males are black and white (e.g. S. mimosarum, S. dufouri, S. bicolor) or black and yellow (S. tibialis).  

Biology: The most of the species built nests on shrubs or trees, but sometimes can be found under stones (S. manicanus, sometimes S. lineatus). Many works have described biology of Stegodyphus species in detail, mainly with respect to their social life style. The genus display maternal care including matriphagy and regurgitation (feeding of offsprings by vomits) and slights are tolerant each other. Time of toleration of juveniles is prolonged in subsocial species (most of the species). According to observation in captivity siblings tolerate each other even after adulthood (S. dufouri and S. tentoriicola). In S. africanus first female who gets adult start to cannibalise smaller spiders. In S. lineatus cannibalism starts earlier, than in other members of the genus (about 3th instart), but in nature males were observed in a single nest with females in subadult. Three species lives in multi-generation colonies being one of few real social spiders, such colonies comprising up to few hundred spiders (S. dumicola, S mimosarum, S. sarasinorum).