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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