The name tarantula is also applied to the purse-web spiders (family Atypidae) and funnel-web spiders (Dipluridae and Hexathelidae) of the Old and New World, and sheet funnel-web spiders or dwarf tarantulas (Mecicobothriidae) of the New World; there is a tailless whip scorpion genus Tarantula. Originally the name was applied to a spider of the wolf spider family, Lycosa tarantula, of S Europe, whose bite was supposed to cause tarantism, a nervous condition characterized by hysteria; the best cure was believed to be strenuous and prolonged dancing of the tarantella . Spider families are classified in the phylum Arthropoda , class Arachnida, order Araneae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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