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the web of life in southern Africa

Amblypygi (amblypygids, whip spiders)

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

Amblypygid. Body length about 22 mm. [image N. Larsen ©]


Seventeen genera and 136 species worldwide, with four genera and seven species native to southern Africa. Found mainly in the tropics and subtropics, occurring under rocks, in crevices and under bark (Harvey 2003).

Genera native to southern Africa

All these genera are in the family Phrynichidae. Information from Harvey (2003).


An African genus of 10 species, four of which are native to southern Africa.



One species, Phrynichodamon scullyi, which is native to South Africa (Northern Cape) and Namibia.



Two species with one, Euphrynichus bacillifer, native to southern Africa. Its overall distribution includes Zimbabwe, Malawi, DRC, Angola, Tanzania, Kenya and Madagascar.



One species, Xerophrynus machadoi, which is native to Namibia and Angola.




  • Harvey MS. 2003. Catalogue of the smaller arachnid orders of the world. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
  • Weygoldt P. 1998. Mating and spermatophore morphology in whip spiders (Phrynichodamon scullyi [Purcell, 1901], Damon gracilis nov. spec., Damon variegatus [Perty, 1834] and Euphrynichus bacillifer [Gerstaecker, 1873]) (Arachnida: Amblypygi: Phrynichidae). Zoologischer Anzeiger 236: 259-276.
  • Weygoldt P. 1999. Revision of the genus Damon C.L. Koch, 1850 (Chelicerata: Amblypygi: Phrynichidae). Zoologica, Stuttgart 150: 1-45.
  • Weygoldt P. 2000a. Whip spiders. Their biology, morphology and systematics. Apollo Books, Stenstrup.
  • Weygoldt P. 2000b. African whip spiders. Synopsis of the Amblypygi reported from Africa (Arachnida). Memorie della Societé Entomologica Italiana, Supplemento 78: 339-359.