ground spiders

(Family Gnaphosidae)

ground spider (Family Gnaphosidae)
Photo by Alfredo Colon

Gnaphosidae is a large family of true spiders known as ground spiders. There are 2,583 species of ground spiders in 164 genera worldwide, at least 76 species in 22 genera in North America north of Mexico, and at least 31 species in at least 11 genera in Minnesota. They are found in grasslands on or near the ground, on tree trunks, and under stones.

Neither males nor females construct hunting webs. Both sexes spin tube-shaped retreats under stones, in bark, or in rolled leaves. They are fast runners. They hunt by pursuing their prey on the ground and immobilizing it with a thick, gluey, silk strand.


Gnaphosidae are medium-sized spiders to (10 to 15 mm) in length. The carapace is oval and usually unmarked. The anterior median eyes are dark. The posterior median eyes are oval and angled. The abdomen is elongated and slightly flattened. On all but one genus, the front spinnerets are tube-shaped and are visible from above. The legs are medium-length, stout, and spiny. All of the legs are about the same length. There are two claws at the tip, but these are not visible without magnification.


Distribution Map



24, 29, 30, 82.

  Class Arachnida (arachnids)  


Araneae (spiders)  


Araneomorphae (true spiders)  




Gnaphosidae (ground spiders)  

Subordinate Taxa


Anzacia spp. (patriotic ground spiders)

Callilepis spp.

Camillina spp.

Cesonia spp.

Cladothela spp. (flat-bellied ground spiders)

Drassodes spp.

Drassyllus spp.

Eilica spp.

Epicharitus spp. (banded ground spiders)

Gertschosa spp.

Gnaphosa spp.

Haplodrassus spp.

Herpyllus spp.

Heser spp.

Litopyllus spp.

Micaria spp.

Nodocion spp.

Orodrassus spp.

Prodidomus spp.

Scopoides spp.

Scotophaeus spp.

Sergiolus spp.

Sosticus spp.

Talanites spp.

Trachyzelotes spp.

Urozelotes spp.

Zelotes spp.






Common Names


ground spiders

stealthy ground spiders










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Alfredo Colon

    ground spider (Family Gnaphosidae)      








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Other Videos
  Gnaphosidae ground spider

May 5, 2018

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Ground spider, feeding video.

  Gnaphosidae in work - Novograd Volynskiy Ukraine - 27.04.2017

Jun 15, 2017

Ground spiders (family Gnaphosidae) include nearly 2,000 described species in over 100 genera, distributed worldwide. This makes the family the seventh largest known. New species are still being discovered. They are closely related to Clubionidae.

Common genera include Gnaphosa, Drassodes, Micaria, Cesonia, Zelotes and many others.

There are 105 species known to central Europe

  Gnaphosidae sp. - Egg Sac
Tobias MacRobie

Mar 7, 2020

Spotted this in my vivarium just after she finished making the egg sac.




Visitor Sightings

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  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, MN

ground spider (Family Gnaphosidae)  






Created: 1/4/2022

Last Updated:

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