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; order Araneae, suborder Araneomorphae)

Family of spiders, which have a vertical comb of serrated bristles on the tarsi of the fourth legs which is used to throw threads of silk over the prey items caught in their webs. In general they are a small to medium (0.1–1.5 cm long), glossy species, with large, protuberant eyes, and the habit of making tangled, three-dimensional webs with sticky threads on the periphery. There are more than 1300 species, including the infamous Latrodectus mactans (black widow spider) whose venom is toxic to mammals and occasionally fatal to humans.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.

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