, Volume 97, Issue 5, pp 449–459 | Cite as

The oldest haplogyne spider (Araneae: Plectreuridae), from the Middle Jurassic of China

  • Paul A. SeldenEmail author
  • Diying Huang
Original Paper


New fossil spiders (Arachnida: Araneae) from Middle Jurassic (ca. 165 Ma) strata of Daohugou, Inner Mongolia, China are described as Eoplectreurys gertschi gen. et sp. nov. and referred to the modern haplogyne family Plectreuridae. This small family is restricted to southwestern USA, Mexico, and the adjacent Caribbean area today and hitherto has only a sparse Cenozoic fossil record. The morphology of Eoplectreurys is remarkably similar to modern forms and thus demonstrates great evolutionary conservatism. This new discovery not only extends the fossil record of the family by at least 120 Ma to the Middle Jurassic but also supports the hypothesis of a different distribution of the family in the past than today and subsequent extinction over much of its former range.


Mesozoic Daohugou Fossil Inner Mongolia Palaeobiogeography 



We thank Bill Shear (Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia) for pointing us to Plectreuridae and Darrell Ubick (California Academy of Sciences) for helpful discussion and the loan of specimens in his care. We acknowledge financial support from the National Science Foundation of China (grant no. 40672013, 40632010), Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant no. KZCX2-YW-QN104), and the Major Basic Research Projects (2006CB806400) of MST of China.


  1. Alayón GG (1993) Redescripción de Plectreurys globosus Franganillo (Araneae: Plectreuridae). Poeyana 429:1–7Google Scholar
  2. Alayón GG (2003) Nueva especie de Plectreurys Simon (Araneae: Plectreuridae) de Cuba. Rev Iber Aracnol 7:85–88Google Scholar
  3. Ansorge J (2003) Insects from the Lower Toarcian of Middle Europe and England. Acta Zool Cracov 46(Supplement—fossil insects):291–310Google Scholar
  4. Beatty JA (1970) The spider genus Ariadna in the Americas (Araneae, Dysderidae). Bull Mus Comp Zool 139:433–517Google Scholar
  5. Chen W, Ji Q, Liu D-Y, Zhang Y, Song B, Liu X-Y (2004) Isotope geochronology of the fossil-bearing beds in the Daohugou area, Ningcheng, Inner Mongolia. Geol Bull China 23:1165–1169 (in Chinese, English abstract)Google Scholar
  6. Eskov K (1984) A new fossil spider family from the Jurassic of Transbaikalia (Araneae: Chelicerata). N Jb Geol Paläont Mh 1984:645–653Google Scholar
  7. Eskov K (1987) A new archaeid spider (Chelicerata: Araneae) from the Jurassic of Kazakhstan, with notes on the so-called “Gondwanan” ranges of recent taxa. N Jb Geol Paläont Abh 175:81–106Google Scholar
  8. Gertsch WJ (1958) The spider family Plectreuridae. Am Mus Novit 1920:1–53Google Scholar
  9. Huang D-Y, Nel A, Shen Y-B, Selden PA, Lin Q-B (2006) Discussions on the age of the Daohugou fauna—evidence from invertebrates. Prog Nat Sci Special Issue 16:308–312Google Scholar
  10. Huang D-Y, Selden PA, Dunlop JA (2009) Harvestmen (Arachnida: Opiliones) from the Middle Jurassic of China. Naturwissenschaften 96:955–962CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Jocqué R, Dippenaar-Schoeman AS (2007) Spider families of the world, 2nd edn. Koninklijk Museum voor Midden-Afrika, TervurenGoogle Scholar
  12. Král J, Musilová J, Šťáhlavský F, Řezáč M, Akan Z, Edwards RL, Coyle FA, Ribera C (2006) Evolution of the karyotype and sex chromosome systems in basal clades of araneomorph spiders (Araneae: Araneomorphae). Chromosome Res 14:859–880CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Liu Y-Q, Liu Y-X, Li P-X, Zhang H, Zhang L-J, Li Y, Xia H-D (2004) Daohugou biota-bearing lithostratigraphic succession on the southeastern margin of the Ningcheng basin, Inner Mongolia, and its geochronology. Geol Bull China 23:1180–1185 (in Chinese, English abstract)Google Scholar
  14. Metcalfe I (2009) Late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic tectonic and palaeogeographical evolution of SE Asia. In: Buffetaut E, Cuny G, Le Loeuff J, Suteethorn V (eds) Late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic ecosystems in SE Asia. Geol Soc Spec Publ 315:7–23Google Scholar
  15. Penney D (2007) Hispaniolan spider biodiversity and the importance of combining neontological and palaeontological data in analyses of historical biogeography. In: Schwartz J (ed) Focus on biodiversity research. Nova Science Publishers, New York, pp 63–100Google Scholar
  16. Penney D (2009) A new spider family record for Hispaniola—a new species of Plectreurys (Araneae: Plectreuridae) in Miocene Dominican amber. Zootaxa 2144:65–68Google Scholar
  17. Pickard-Cambridge O (1898) Arachnida. Araneida. In: Biologia Centrali-Americana, Zoology. London 1:233–288Google Scholar
  18. Platnick NI (2009) The world spider catalog, version 10.0. American Museum of Natural History. Online at
  19. Platnick NI, Coddington JA, Forster RR, Griswold CE (1991) Spinneret morphology and the phylogeny of haplogyne spiders (Araneae, Araneomorphae). Am Mus Novit 3016:1–73Google Scholar
  20. Ramírez MJ (2000) Respiratory system morphology and the phylogeny of haplogyne spiders (Araneae, Araneomorphae). J Arachnol 28:149–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ren D, Gao K-Q, Guo Z-G, Ji S-A, Tan J-J, Song Z (2002) Stratigraphical division of the Jurassic in the Daohugou area, Nincheng, Inner Mongolia. Geol Bull China 21:584–591 (in Chinese, English abstract)Google Scholar
  22. Selden PA (1996) Fossil mesothele spiders. Nature 379:498–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Selden PA, Penney D (2009) Fossil spiders. Biol Rev 85:171–206CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Selden PA, Anderson HM, Anderson JM, Fraser NC (1999) The oldest araneomorph spiders, from the Triassic of South Africa and Virginia. J Arachnol 27:401–414Google Scholar
  25. Selden PA, Huang D, Ren D (2008) Palpimanoid spiders from the Jurassic of China. J Arachnol 36:306–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Selden PA, Anderson HM, Anderson JM (2009) A review of the fossil record of spiders (Araneae) with special reference to Africa, and description of a new specimen from the Triassic Molteno Formation of South Africa. African Invertebrates 50:105–116Google Scholar
  27. Shen Y-B, Chen P-J, Huang D-Y (2003) Age of the fossil conchostracans from Daohugou of Ningcheng, Inner Mongolia. J Strat 27:311–313 (in Chinese, English abstract)Google Scholar
  28. Smith T, Rose KD, Gingerich PD (2006) Rapid Asia–Europe–North America geographic dispersal of earliest Eocene primate Teilhardina during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103:11223–11227CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Torsvik TH, Carlos D, Mosar J, Cocks LRM, Malme T (2002) Global reconstructions and North Atlantic palaeogeography 400 Ma to recent. In: Eide EA (coord.) Batlas–Mid Norway plate reconstruction atlas with global and Atlantic perspectives. Norg Geol Unders, Trondheim, pp 18–39Google Scholar
  30. Ubick D (2005) Plectreuridae. In: Ubick D, Paquin P, Cushing PE, Roth V (eds) Spiders of North America: an identification manual. American Arachnological Society, College Park, MD, USA, pp 201–202Google Scholar
  31. Vollrath F, Selden PA (2007) The role of behavior in the evolution of spiders, silks, and webs. Ann Rev Ecol Evol Syst 38:819–846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wunderlich J (ed) (2004) Fossil spiders in amber and copal. Beitr Araneol 3:1–1908Google Scholar
  33. Wunderlich J (ed) (2008) The dominance of ancient spider families of the Araneae: Haplogynae in the Cretaceous, and the late diversification of advanced ecribellate spiders of the Entelegynae after the Cretaceous–Tertiary boundary extinction events, with descriptions of new families. Beitr Araneol 5:524–675Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ESpringer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Paleontological Institute and Department of GeologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Natural History MuseumLondonUK
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations