Sitalcina by Hedin
Sitalcina sura Briggs, 1968 - USA - from flickr. Copyright © Marshal Hedin.









The Phalangodidae Simon, 1879 is a mainly Holarctic family of Grassatores, with more than 100 described species. In the past (starting with Roewer 1912) it has had a much broader concept, including species that today are in many different superfamilies of Laniatores. Taxonomy of North American species was extensively studied by Darrell Ubick and Thomas Briggs (e.g., Ubick 2007) [1].

The Phalangodidae are minute inhabitants of leaf litter, but also massively present in caves, and often studied by speleologists, both in USA and Europe [2]. The very first species of Phalangodes known was described from the famous Mammoth Cave in Kentucky [3]. Martens (1972) [4] noted that the European Phalangodidae were not restricted to caves.

There is a recent molecular analysis of species of Eastern USA [5].


Genera Edit


  1. Ubick, D. (2007) Phalangodidae Simon, 1879. In: Pinto-da-Rocha, R., Machado, G. & Giribet, G. (Eds.), Harvestmen: the biology of the Opiliones. x + 597 pages. Harvard University Press, Cambridge and London, pp. 217–221.
  2. Jeannel, R. (1943) Les fossiles vivants des cavernes. Gallimard, Paris, 321 pp.
  3. Tellkampf, T.G. (1844) Beschreibung einiger neuer in der Mammuth-Höhle in Kentucky aufgefundener Gattungen von Gliederthieren. Archiv für Naturgeschichte, 10 (1), 318–322 + pl. 8.
  4. Martens, J. (1972b) Ausobskya athos, der erste Krallenweberknecht aus Griechenland (Opiliones: Phalangodidae). Mit Bemerkungen zur Familien-Gliederung der europäischen Laniatores. Senckenbergiana biologica, 53(5/6), 431–440.
  5. Hedin, M. & Thomas, S.M. (2010) Molecular systematics of eastern North American Phalangodidae (Arachnida: Opiliones: Laniatores), demonstrating convergent morphological evolution in caves. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 54, 107-121.