Abstract Current knowledge of ‘‘micronetine’ ’ female genitalia is almost exclusively based on transmitted light microscopy data. As such, our understanding of the epi-gynal anatomy is incomplete and somewhat misleading, to the extent that it hinders comparative studies of linyphiid diversity. We used scanning electronic microscopy (SEM) to study the complex epigynal morphology of ‘‘microne-tine’ ’ spiders. Enzymatic digestion of soft tissues allowed us to examine the internal chitinized structures in detail using SEM. A taxonomic sample of nine species was selected to represent the morphological genitalic diversity of female ‘‘micronetines’ ’ (including one member of the Erigoninae clade). Results reveal that the epigynum con-sists of a pair of grooves formed by integument folds (copulatory and fertilization grooves). The protruding ep-igynal region is divided into a ventral and a dorsal plate by the grooves; both plates can be modified to form an epi-gynal cavity and/or a scape. Our observations confirm the widespread occurrence of epigynal grooves, rather than ducts, in ‘‘micronetines’’. Epigynal grooves seem to be common in linyphioids and other spider groups
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