AMMOXENIDAE Termite Hunters

A small number of ammoxenid spiders were recorded for Australia by Norman Platnick in 2002. Four species were in the new genus Austrammo a contraction of "Australian ammoxenid" and one in Barrowammo a contraction of "Barrow Island ammoxenid". Until 2002 ammoxenids had only been known from southern Africa. They are considered gnaphosoid spiders because of their rear central eyes, where the normal focusing lens has been lost and the eyes flattened, becoming sometimes ridged and irregularly shaped, probably acting as filters for polarized light as cues for navigation. Australian species, known as termite hunters, are around 3-7 mm in body length. Austrammo has an iridescent abdomen, resulting from thickly overlapping scales, but Barrowammo does not.



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