Araneomorphs are the most common of the three major suborders of spider (the other two suborders are the Mygalomorphae and the Mesothelae). The vast majority of spiders that people encounter are araneomorphs. The main distinguishing feature of araneomorph spiders is that the chelicerae, or fangs, point diagonally forward rather than straight down as in the mygalomorphs and mesothelids. They bite by closing the fangs in a crossing motion. This also allows araneomorph spiders to actually chew their prey.

Nearly all web-spinning spiders are araneomorphs, and only this suborder produces the well-known orb webs and cobwebs - mygalomorph webs, when seen, are dense tangles of silk. All araneomorphs, save the hackled orb-weavers, possess venom, but very few are actually dangerous to mankind. Indeed, the only araneomorph genera known to be harmful are Latrodectus, Loxosceles, Sicarius and Phoneutria, and not all species within these genera. There are thousands of genera, and tens of thousands of species, that pose no threat at all to man.


I neglected to mention that there are a few other genera, namely Clubiona, Steatoda and Tegenaria which are suspected of having dangerous members, but none of these are associated with any fatalities or serious envenomations.

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