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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Sicariidae (violin spiders, six-eyed sand/crab spiders)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthropoda > Arachnomorpha > Cheliceriformes > Chelicerata > Euchelicerata > Arachnida > Araneae > Araneomorpha

The family is both interesting and of medical significance. It is represented by two genera in South Africa, Loxosceles and Sicarius. Loxosceles, the violin spider, is the most common occurring through most of South Africa. This spider, as well as the long-legged sac spider, Cheiracanthium, is responsible for all the serious cytotoxic spider bites in South Africa. Sicarius, the six-eyed sand/crab spider, is less commonly encountered as it occurs in the sand in the more arid western half of southern Africa. Both are harmful to people with Loxosceles bites resulting in ulcerating lesions while tissue damage from a bite by Sicarius is far more extensive and severe, sometimes resulting in death.

Genera indigenous to southern Africa

Loxosceles (violin spiders)


Sicarius (six-eyed sand spiders, six eyed crab spiders)


Text and images by Norman Larsen