N A T U R K U N D L I C H E S   I N F O R M A T I O N S S Y S T E M

Scytodes thoracica (Latreille, 1802)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Aranea thoracica Latreille, 1802
Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Scytodes tigrina C. L. Koch, 1838
Scytodes cameratus Hentz, 1850


: Fruška gora (Sremska Kamenica), 2008.      
Picture from: © Savic Dragisa 2010
Detailed view

Description of adults: Examined: 3 . Body length: about 6 mm, about 4 mm (Nentwig et al., 2003). Both sexes are pale brown with characteristic black marks on head and abdomen region. Legs are very slender. Prosoma region is usually bigger than opistosoma, because of the big silk glands in it. Spider has 6 eyes.


This is common species in Holartic region and on Pacific Islands (Platnick , 2010). In Europe, it has been reported from most countries, except some northern ones (van Helsdingen, 2010).


This nocturnal wanderer stands out as one of a kind among the spider population. He got a name “spitting spider”, because he is able to spit a poisonous silk to its prey. He has a big silk gland in his head region, connected with poisonous gland, so he can make some hazardous mixture. When he marks a prey, usually the moths, he sneaks very carefully and spits. In the same time a prey is stick to the surface and envenomed. We can find him under the stones, in caves, mines and buildings. Adults can be found all year.


male palp: not complex structure, pear – shaped bulb with long embolus epigyna: simple epigynal plate for more details please see this spider key: further details (Nentwig et al. 2010)


The characteristic appearances and the way of life make the species unmistakeable within its distribution range.

Importance for humans:

Not dangerous, even welcome in our home because preying on clothes moths.

Worth knowing:


Helsdingen, P. van 2010. Araneae. Fauna Europaea version 2.2., http://www.faunaeur.org [online 19 June 2010].
Nentwig W., A. Hänggi, C. Kropf & T. Blick 2003. Spinnen Mitteleuropas/Central European Spiders. An internet identification key. http://www.araneae.unibe.ch. Version of 8.12.2003 [online 19 June 2010].
Platnick N. I. 2010. The world spider catalog, version 11.0. American Museum of Natural History, online at http://research.amnh.org/entomology/spiders/catalog/index.html [online 19 June 2010].
Savić D. 2010. Nature Photography by Dragiša Savić online at http://www.naturefg.com/index.html [online 19 June 2010].

Publication data:

Grbic Gordana: 2010.07.08
Grbic Gordana: 2010.12.04
Grbic Gordana: 2011.04.03
Grbic Gordana: 2011.04.08
Document reviewed by:
not reviewed: 2011.04.08
Document released by:
Grbic Gordana: 2011.04.10