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Webspinners (Embioptera)

Also known as Embiidina, the webspinners are a fairly small group with around 450 known species, found mainly in the tropical regions of all continents; they also extend into some temperate parts of the USA and southern Europe. Around a dozen species are found in southern Europe in the families Embiidae and Oligotomidae. The Embioptera, together with their sister group Zoraptera, seem distantly related to Plecoptera, but also share some characteristics with the Phasmida and Orthoptera. Their most distinctive feature is a large silk-producing gland in each fore tarsus, found in both sexes and in the nymphal stages; the silk is used to build extensive gallery systems in the soil, leaf litter or on tree bark.

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