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Spiders

You can learn about the most common Australian Spiders on this page and even download the free PDF Ebook Book

 

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Brief Description about Spiders

Spiders are arachnids not insects, but both spiders and insects belong to the largest group of animals on Earth, the arthropods – animals with hard external skeletons and jointed limbs (greek arthro = joint, podos = footed).  Arachnids have the head and thorax combined (cephalothorax) with simple eyes, jaws adapted for tearing or piercing prey, a pair of pedipalps and eight walking legs.

Worldwide there are about 70,000 species of arachnids of which 36,000 are spiders.  Approximately 2,900 species of them are found in Australia.  Only a few species, including the Redback Spider and some funnel-web and mouse spider species, can inflict bites that are potentially fatal to humans. One of the most dangerous of all is the Sydney Funnel-web Spider. There have been no fatalities from Sydney Funnel-web bites since the development of effective anti venom.

Spiders are the only arachnids that have special glands in their abdomen which produce silk.

Spiders were among the earliest animals to live on land. The first definite spiders lived 380 million years ago during the Devonian Period, more than 150 million years before the dinosaurs.

Spiders live in almost every habitat on earth. The only places where there are no spiders are the Polar Regions, the highest mountains and the oceans. A few spider species have invaded the ocean’s edge, living in the rock and coral crevices of the intertidal zone.

Spiders are an important and fascinating part of our natural environment. Their webs are wonders of natural architecture. They have major ecological and agricultural roles as killers of insects. Both their venom and silk are being used in medical research (stroke treatment), pest management (insect specific pesticides) and fibre technology (transgenic biosilk production).

In many parts of Australia spider populations are threatened because their habitats are being destroyed by the clearing and degrading of bush land. Conserving spider habitat not only saves the spiders but also the whole ecosystem of which they are a part. Habitat conservation is an essential element of maintaining sustainable ecosystems.

Many different spiders live alongside humans exploiting the nooks and crannies of houses, sheds and gardens. They are good to have around because they eat insect pests. Very few are harmful.

Some of the smallest spiders in the world are never seen by most humans because they only have pinhead-sized bodies. Small spiders are usually found in damp, cool habitats like forest leaf litter and moss because their small bodies can lose water rapidly in dryer conditions. The largest spiders in the world include the South American Goliath Tarantula, some so big their legs can span a dinner plate. Such spiders may take decades to reach such a size. However, spider size is limited, partly because their respiratory physiology becomes less efficient at very large sizes.

Many spiders have unusual body shapes and colours. This is helpful to spiders in various ways – to deceive and ambush prey, to capture particular sorts of prey, to avoid being eaten and to attract mates.

 

 


Australian Spiders

The below is available to download free as a PDF Ebook

Contents

St Andrew’s Cross Spider

Garden Orb Weaver (Araneus Diadematus)

Araneus Orb Weaver

Golden Orb Weaver (Araneidae, genus Nephila)

Brown House Spider

Bird Dropping Spider

Daddy-long-leg

Jewel Spiders

Huntsman Spider

Flower Spider

Jumping Spider

Trapdoor spider

Eastern Mouse Spider

Red Headed Mouse Spider

Black House Spider (Badumna Longinquus)

Wolf Spiders

Redback Spider

Brown Widow

Sydney Funnel-Web Spiders

White Tailed Spider

References


 

St Andrew’s Cross Spider

StAndrews Cross

Identification

St Andrew’s Cross Spiders are named as a result of their web decorations that are brilliant – zigzag threads of bluish-white silk that form a partial or complete cross through the centre of the orb web. Cream and the brown coloured males are smaller than females.

As the ‘doily’ matures, it’s slowly transformed into a ‘cross’.

 

Habitat

The St Andrew’s Cross Spiders construct moderate-sized orb webs, inhabited day and night, on low shrubby plant life.

The function -like web decoration has for ages been a puzzle. Initially idea to reinforce or ‘stabilise’ the net, it is associated with more recent thoughts with avoiding predators or catching preys. The ribbon-like silk reflects ultra-violet light firmly. Such light is appealing to flying insects, which use it to browse through openings in the plant life and to find food sources like blooms. If insects are attracted by the beautiful silk, the quarry of the net may raise capturing efficiency. The silk ornamentation could also make its owner and the web noticeable to day-active predators like wasps and birds. On the other hand, the silky web may prevent predators from trying their best to catch the spider.

Eating and Diet

The raven of the St Andrew’s Cross Spiders feeds on bees, moths, butterflies, bugs, and flies. Silk wrap usually secures these into a neat package – although smaller quarry may be bitten.

Other behaviors and adaptations

When threatened, the St Andrew’s Cross Spider reacts by shaking its web, and stabilimentum becomes blurry, confusing its attackers. These measures do not always work.

 

Mating and Reproduction

Mating occurs from summer to fall and can be dangerous for the male because of its little size, compared to the female. The male builds a mating thread within the web by vibrating the thread- an action that brings an open female. The female hangs its pear-shaped egg sac among leaves where it disguised. Regardless of this, parasites and flies still attack the eggs.


 

Garden Orb Weaver (Araneus Diadematus)

Garden Orb Weaver

Number of Species

100

Identification

The Garden Orb Weavers that are found are stout, reddish-brown or gray spiders with a leaf-shaped pattern on their abdomens that are fat, nearly triangular, which additionally have two noticeable humps towards the front. They occasionally have a dorsal stripe that neither looks black nor brown.

Habitat

Orb weaving spiders make tacky, sticky, wheel-shaped orb webs. Webs are spun into openings between shrubs and trees where insects will probably fly.

The Garden Orb Weavers build big, powerful, perpendicular orb webs in the morning. And the spider takes it down again at daybreak. The spider rests head-down in the middle of the web waiting for its meal.

Eating and Diet

When an insect moves into the web, the spider rushes out of the web center, feels the shaking and quickly wraps the casualty in silk, rotating it with its short central legs. When the quarry is safe, the orb-weaver administers a sting and sits back to let the venom, that is lethal, do its job. After all the movement has ceased, the spider eats its meal comfortably or hangs it for later use. These spiders will release substantial prey instead of risk a fight which could damage their web when food is abundant. Butterflies and day-active moths are occasionally captured but are somewhat shielded from web entrapment by the existence of scales on their wings – this may enable the insects to fight free from the sticky web.

Other Behaviors and Adaptation

During the day, the spider rests with its legs pulled under the body on a nearby leaf.

Lifecycle

The lifespan of a female is about twelve months. The eggs are encased in a silken cocoon that is then attached to leaves. During fall, the spiderlings hatch and disperse by ballooning (floating on the wind using little silk fibrils as “balloons”), and construct their miniature orb webs among plants and wait out the winter. During springtime, the spiderlings begin to develop faster, and they grow more in summer. Adult females die off in fall – early winter. Females and men are similar in size.

Predators

Birds are the usual predators of this spider.

Danger to Humans and First Aid

Orb weavers are not eager to bite. And when they do, symptoms are usually moderate or minimal pain, swelling, and numbness. Sometimes dizziness and nausea can happen after the sting.

If symptoms continue, seek medical attention


 

Araneus Orb Weaver

Araneus Orb Weaver

Habitat

These spiders are found in Australia and North America, residing in lawns, gardens, farms, orchards, urban and suburban areas. It also frequents riparian corridors, woods borders, and old fields.

Web

Web may be attached to buildings in suburban and urban areas. The spider may either live in the getaway at the periphery of the web or inhabit the hub (center) of the web- hanging head down. The web is usually eaten by the spider every night, and the water and protein extracted is used them to reconstruct a new fresh net.

 

Food

Raven that is leaping or flying insects that can be intercepted by the perpendicular orb web.

Lifecycle

Male spiders reach maturity quicker than females and may match up with females that are immature, waiting for them to become mature. Females spin their eggs in sacs during fall or late summer. After laying her eggs, the female dies. Each egg sac can include anywhere from 100 to 800 eggs that are yellowish in color. Spiderlings stay clumped together for a day or two. Some spiderlings “balloon” to other places by following the air currents.


 

Golden Orb Weaver (Araneidae, genus Nephila)

Golden Orb Weaver

Identification

Golden Orb Weaving Spiders are big spiders with silvery-gray to brownish plum colored bodies. They have branded legs that are usually yellowish. The males are tiny and reddish-brown to brown in color.

Distribution

In Sydney, trees and the bushes of the Royal Botanic Gardens are a great spot to see them, as are the Homebush Bay region of the city and the mangrove forests of Bicentennial Park.

Habitat

All orb weaving spiders make hung, tacky, wheel-shaped orb webs. Webs are set in openings between shrubs and trees where insects will most likely fly.

Eating and Diet

Gold orb prey includes cicadas and flies, beetles, locusts, wood moths. Occasionally their robust webs manage to snare small birds or bats, and the spider will wrap and feed on them.

Other behaviors and adaptations

The Golden Orb Weaving Spiders construct big, semi-permanent orb webs. The solid silk has a gold sheen. These spiders stay within their webs night and day and get some protection from bird strike by the existence of an ‘obstacle system’ of threads on one or both sides of their web.

 

Like the St Andrew’s Cross Spider, their webs will vibrate to deflect potential predators.

Lifecycle

It is a norm for the males to live around the female web- for a chance of a mating opportunity. After mating, the female covers her eggs in many golden silk, and they are hidden within curled leaf or spring or twigs.

Predators

Predators of orb weavers contain wasps and several bird species of the family Sphecidae. The wasps entice the spider to the margin by imitating a fighting insect’s that has been trapped in the spider’s web. Immediately the spider is out of its web, the bird snap it up and feed on it, or carry it over to feed its young.

Danger to Human

Orb weavers seldom bite. When they do, symptoms are moderate or minimal, ranging from localized pain, swelling, and numbness. Sometimes dizziness and nausea can happen also.

If symptoms continue, seek medical attention.


 

Brown House Spider

Brown House Spider

Identification

Like many members in the Theridiid family, Brown House Spiders have glossy, slim legs, with a bigger abdomen and a little cephalothorax, which is egg-shaped in Steatoda. The color can vary from a reddish or brownish plum to satiny black.

Size range

Females 1.2 cm, males are smaller

Similar Species

Redback Spider

Distribution

Spiders of the Steatoda genus are found residing in temperate and temperate climates throughout the world.

Habitat

Steatoda spiders construct a complex-looking web with tacky lines (a glue-footed web), in the dark and undisturbed areas, as long as a source of prey is accessible.

Lifecycle

The females create several white to cream egg sacs, suspending them within her twisted web. Male Brown House Spiders, also known as Cupboard Spider, is only going to live for a month or two. But the female can live for almost two years.

Mating and reproduction

The male spider inhabits the outer parts of the female’s web, and is modest, anticipating an opportunity to mate. After mating has finished, the male is usually eaten up by the bigger female.

Risk to first aid and people

Stings from Steatoda species happen infrequently. Before now, they were never considered dangerous to people. But recently, there have been cases of Brown House Spiders stinging people, resulting in severe symptoms. In some instances, Redback antivenom was used to treat these symptoms. Small skin lesions have sometimes been related to the sting.

 

More often than not, a cold pack can be applied to the sting area, reducing the pain and swelling of the bite.


 

Bird Dropping Spider

Bird Dropping Spider

Identification

Among the best known Bird-dropping Spiders is Celaenia excavata. Another name for this spider is the Orchard Spider. Its primary source of food is moths that are found on fruit trees.

 

Its substantial size, distinguishing color pattern and position that is resting makes this dung mimicking spider difficult to mistake. The abdomen has a pair of roughened hump at the back. The legs are generally held folded against the body.

Size range

12 mm (female); 2.5 millimeters (male)

Distribution

The Bird-dropping Spider is found throughout the southern and eastern Australia, more from Uluru in central Australia. They are found in suburban gardens but frequently overlooked.

Habitat kind

Vegetation Habitat: open woodland

Feeding and Diet

The Bird-dropping Spider uses a different approach to catch its prey, which consists majorly of male moths. The ill-fated male moths that are brought by the spider’s deceiving tactics are trapped by the spider’s its powerful front legs.

Feeding Habits

Arthropod- feeder, predator, carnivorous, insectivorous

Other behaviors and adaptations

Despite its large size, this white, black, brown and squat spider sits huddled in relatively open locations during daytime hours, often on a leaf or branch. The camouflage of the spider deceives its preys into believing that the spider is dung, not knowing it’s a killing machine waiting for a close opportunity to strike for a meal.

Reproduction

The egg sacs of the Bird-dropping Spider are big, marbled brown colored balls, each about 12 millimeters in diameter and housing more than 200 eggs.

Danger to Human

The bite of this spider isn’t considered dangerous.

Generally, no first aid is needed. A cold pack can, however, be applied to reduce the pain suffered from the bite.


 

Daddy-long-leg

Daddy Long Leg

Daddy-long-legs spiders are easily recognised by their exceptionally long, lanky legs and little body. They’re usually cream or light brown in colour.

Size range

9 millimeter

Distribution

It’s a cosmopolitan species that originates from Europe and was introduced accidentally into Australia.

Habitat

Daddy-long-legs Spiders are seen in most urban areas, especially in houses. They make a thin, twisted web in sheltered places where they’re not likely to be disturbed, including under furniture, behind doors, in the corner of the ceilings, in sheds, in garages and under decks. If the Daddy-long-legs Spider is disturbed in its web, it reacts by setting up a very fast, spinning movement, becoming a blur to anyone watching.

Habitat

Terrestrial Habitat: peridomestic

Feeding and Diet

The Daddy-long-legs Spider feeds on other spiders and insects.

Eating Habits

Arthropod-feeder, predator, carnivorous, insectivorous

Life history mode

sedentary

Danger to Human

There has been a current belief that the Daddy-Long-Legs is the most toxic spider in the world. But, there isn’t any scientific evidence to support this view. The idea likely grew as a result of the way the spider attacks, kill and eat a Redback Spider. Although the venom may be potent for insects, it was believed that the fangs of this spider were incapable of piercing human skin. Well established sources, including the University of California, Riverside say this species is not harmful to human, in most cases. But if there happens to be an attack, the necessary treatment- spider bite treatment- should be administered.


 

 Jewel Spiders

Jewel Spider

Simple description:

It has six triangular spines on its abdomen.

Description

Cephalothorax black and legs orange; abdomen glossy black with  white and yellow design of six big backbones.

Biology

The webs are joined together with silk to become one big construction, capable of causing irritation to bushwalkers- animals and human being- by covering the whole bushes with their tiny strand of thread.

Habitat

Shrubby woodlands.

Diet

Insects

Dangerous to Human

Seldom bites.

Habitat kinds

Terrestrial

Commercial species

No


 

Huntsman Spider

Huntsman Spider

Identification

Huntsman spiders are big, long-legged spiders. They are mainly gray to brown, sometimes with banded legs. They mostly have a narrow body that enables them to live in tight places. This is helped by their legs which, rather than bending vertically in line with the body, have the joints twisted so that they spread out forwards more like a crab.

Body Size

female- 2cm and male is 1.6cm

Distribution

They’re distributed throughout Australia.

Habitat

They are often found habiting at the back of the tree. They can also be found in houses- and a regular car visitor. And they are often located on the sun visor or the dashboard.

Habitat Type

Terrestrial Habitat: peridomestic, tree pit, under bark

Eating and Diet

Food includes other invertebrates and insects.

Eating Habits

Arthropod- feeder, insectivorous, carnivorous

Lifecycle

The Female Huntsmen covers her over 200 eggs in a flat, oval sac. She then places them under bark or rock, standing as a guide for them for three weeks without eating. In this time, the female can be very aggressive. While moving about some species will carry their egg sac. Climatic conditions vary and likely influence incubation periods.

In some instances, the female may moisten and split the egg sac open, helping her spiderlings to appear. The female then remains with them.

 

Huntsman spiders molt. When seen in the home or hung on bark, they are frequently mistaken for a spider. The lifespan of the majority of Huntsman species is about two years.

Mating and reproduction

In the genus Isopoda, the female and male Huntsman spiders have a drawn-out courtship, which calls for reciprocal caresses, with the male drumming on his palps. Then he adds his palps to fertilize her eggs. The male is seldom assaulted, unlike the other species, and in fact many huntsman spiders live together in large colonies. A silken is usually constructed for molting, and also for egg laying.

Danger to Humans

Pain may be relieved by mere application of cold pack. But if symptoms persist, seek medical help immediately.


 

Flower Spider

Flower Spider

Identification

The lovely Diaea Flower Spiders have a broad, more or less shortened abdomen that’s often colored. They have smooth, sleek bodies with short, broad and unequal legs. Their two front legs are way heavier than the two rear legs.All four pairs of legs arch forwards in a crab-like manner, giving the group their other familiar name, Crab Spider. The male is smaller than the female flower spider.

 

Not all Thomised Species, which is the family of the flower spiders, are brightly colored. For example, the Tharpyna and Stephanopis, aren’t bright colored, relying rather on browns, blacks and whites to blend in with the bark, stem and leaf litter.

Size range

3 millimeter – 1.2 cm

Eating and Diet

Bloom spiders are bloom and leaf dwellers that depend on camouflage skills to capture their prey. Although their hunting locations often change, they use a sit-and-wait strategy for getting food. Raven creatures butterflies, honey bees, flies, and beetles, are caught by the spiders’ spiny front legs and instantly bitten on the head region. The venom acts immediately to subdue the unlucky insect. Then the spider feast immediately on the caught prey.

Eating Habits

Arthropod- feeder, predator, carnivorous, insectivorous

Other behaviors and adaptations

Some flower spiders have the same color as the petals of the flower they inhabit, – usually overall white or yellowish in color. This patterning enables these spiders to blend in with flowery backdrops or green leaves. Some species can experience changes that are slow in color to adapt to their environment.

 

There can be a territory with just one spider, and some others the female and male inhibiting together. In the former case, the occupant will frequently sit on a flower before going on a visit to another flower; it remains in its home until the petals withers. At nighttime flower spiders conceal under leaves or the petals.

 

Others, like Runcinia elongata, dwell among grassy herbage.

 

Lifecycle

After mating, a female flower spiders defend and hide their egg sacs that are woolly within grass blade shelter or a leaf. She consistently provides caught insect to her young. Occasionally, she may be eaten too, especially when food is scarce.

 

The mom subsequently continues to construct the nest and to supply her young with big prey items like wasps and beetles. The young grow larger during winter and springtime, and occasionally help the mom to build the nest up farther. If food becomes scarce nevertheless, they’ll eat their mom. During the summer months, the now grown male young migrates to locate other nests. The females, however, mate before their migration within their parental nest.

Dangers to Human and First Aid

Flower spiders aren’t dangerous to people.


 

Jumping Spider

Jumping Spider

Identification

Though usually modest in size, their big eyes, leaping skill that is prodigious, frequently dazzling colors and cocky, inquisitive action makes them quite appealing. Many are sunlight hunters, using their exceptional eyesight stalk, propelled by their powerful back legs, to monitor and calculate space, before suddenly jumping on their prey.

Covered with lichen, this jumper uses stalking, ambushing, imitation strategies and web invasion to attack.

Size range

3mm – 12 millimeters

Distribution

Australia-wide.

Habitat

Jumping spiders are found in all sorts of plantations during the sunny days.

Eating Habit

arthropod-feeder

Other behaviors and adaptations

The males are often more colored, patterned or adorned with body or leg hair tufts than the females. They use the females to impress during courtship displays. The Jumping Spider is sometimes called “peacock spiders” because of the manner they show themselves… attributed to the bright colors of the males. Males have flap-like lateral extensions.


 

Trapdoor spider

Trapdoor Spider

Identification

Trapdoor spider has short, blunt spinnerets. Males have a little spur that is midway through their first leg. The females are slightly bigger than the males. Although the male may react if endangered, these spiders are usually quite shy.

They contain an extensive assortment of different kinds, many of which are adapted to drier habitats.

Brown Trapdoor Spiders are dull, brownish spiders with a cover of lighter golden hairs on the carapace (“dusty look”). There are always light bars across the abdomen. Brown Trapdoor spider eyes are arranged in two rows.

 

Spiders usually mistaken for Trapdoors are Funnelweb Spiders and Mouse Spiders.

Size Range

1.5cm-3cm

Similar Species

Funnelweb Spiders and Mouse Spiders.

Distribution

Australia-wide.

Lifecycle

The female after mating will shield its egg in a burrow. They stay for several months before dispersing on the earth when the juveniles have hatched. The young would then make their own tiny burrows. As the spider grows larger, its constructed hole becomes wider too.

 

Trapdoors take several years to reach adulthood, and have a very long lifespan, between 5 to 20 years. Females remain in or near their burrows, whereas male goes in search of a mate after they have reached maturity.

Management

In urban areas, Brown Trapdoor Spiders likely play an important function in controlling garden pests, and it’s best only to leave them alone since people do not regard them as dangeros.

Danger to Human

Brown Trapdoor Spiders are frequently mistaken for Funnel-web spiders, but their bites aren’t dangerous. Sigillate Trapdoor Spider stings may cause pain and swelling. As far as this spider’s sting is concerned, there’s been only one recorded case of serious effects from its bite.

 

If symptoms continue, seek medical attention.


Eastern Mouse Spider

Eastern Mouse Spider

Identification

Missulena bradleyi, the eastern mouse spider, is rampant to the east shore of Australia. Eastern mouse spiders are frequently mistaken for Australian funnel web spiders. Their fangs often cross around while those of funnel webs stay and the latter frequently have a drop of venom on their fang points.

There are 11 known species. The name was derived as a result of the way the spider digs its burrow much like mice.

 

Funnelweb antivenom was discovered to become an effective treatment for severe stings. Mouse spiders are moderate-to-big specimens, which range from 1 cm to 3 cm. in length. Their carapace is slick, and they’ve broad heads, with eyes. They’ve short spinnerets, found in the back of the abdomen. Mouse spiders show sexual dimorphism, with female spiders being all black and the male having unique coloration.

Customs

Mouse spiders prey mostly on insects, though other little creatures may be consumed by them if the opportunity presents. The main predators of the mouse spiders are bandicoots, wasps, centipedes, and scorpions.

Habitat

The mouse spiders have different species that are seen in almost all states, throughout Australia.

Risks

The mouse spiders, unlike the funnel web, cause no severe reaction when it stings its victims. They are also not aggressive to people


 

Red Headed Mouse Spider

Red Headed Mouse Spider

 

 

Identification

Redheaded Mouse Spiders have a smooth, shiny carapace, and their head region is steep, high and wide with quite big, bulbous jaws.

Female Redheaded Mouse Spiders are big, stout spiders with short legs. They have dark brown to black color body and a reddish jaw. Female Redheaded Mouse Spiders are considerably larger than the males.

 

Male Redheaded Mouse Spiders have jaws and a bright reddish head and a gunmetal blue to black abdomen. They’ve slim legs that are more slender than its females.

The females and males were treated as two different species due to their varying size and look when they were first described.

Size range

Males approx 15mm, females approx 35mm

Similar Species

Trapdoor Spiders, Funnelweb Spiders

Habitat

Redheaded Mouse Spiders are available in open woods and semiarid shrubland habitats.

The burrows are constructed with single or double trapdoors and the entry is oblong-shaped. Some species have a side chamber stretching of the primary hole shaft, usually closed by a trap door. It provides safety for the egg sac, spiderlings, and predators. The burrow can be as deep as 30cm – way bigger than the spider.

The females are poor spiders that are seldom competitive and often stay in or near their burrows throughout their life.

Seasonality

They are usually more common, particularly after rain. Females stay in their burrows.

Eating and Diet

Redheaded Mouse spiders mostly prey on other spiders and insects, and sometimes on small vertebrates for example lizards and frogs.

Other behaviors and adaptations

Female Red-headed Mouse Spiders generate copious quantities of a highly poisonous venom, which is likely to be as dangerous as that of the Sydney Funnel-web Spider.

 

They leave their wide burrows during the mating season to get a partner. Once the burrow is found silk around the doors, the male starts to pat the earth until the female appears. The male follows her into the burrow if she’s open to mating.

 

 

 

The female lays 60 eggs or more in an egg sac and keep them safely in her burrow. After hatching, the young stays with the female through the summer, until fall when they would depart into their created burrows.

Predators

Predators of the Red-headed Mouse Spider are mainly: bandicoots, parasitic wasps, scorpions, and centipedes.

Dangers to Human

Mouse Spider venom are quite hazardous; haven recorded some severe cases from the spider’s attack on human. But other stings have happened which caused slight effects. Funnel-web spider antivenom has proved successful, in almost all instances, as the cure to the string.

 

Until more antivenoms are available, it’s wise to treat the bite as Funnelweb spider bite, particularly if the sufferer is a kid. Use a pressure bandage over the bitten place, and handle the victim gently so as not to empower the venom the more.


 

Black House Spider (Badumna Longinquus)

Black House Spider

Identification

The Black House Spiders (Badumna longinquus) are smaller species (14mm) species with a black carapace and gray-brown legs.

The webs of Black House Spiders have a ‘funnel-like’ shape, which is often misunderstood as a Funnelweb Spider web. On the other hand, both spiders aren’t, in any way similar to each other.

Size range

18 mm (female); 9 millimeter (male)

Distribution

Black House Spiders are found in eastern and southern Australia.

Distribution by area

NSW South Western Slopes, NSW – South East Corner, VIC, Sydney Basin, South East Coastal Plain – South East Corner, NSW – South Eastern Highlands, VIC – South Eastern Highlands, ACT – South Eastern Highlands, NSW – South Eastern Queensland, VIC – South Eastern Queensland, NSW – QLD

Habitat

Black House Spiders are located on tree trunks, logs, stone walls and buildings (in window frames, wall crevices), constructing their web to attract prey.

Eating and Diet

The Badumna species usually live in the bush. Trees which were assaulted by wood-boring insects are especially appealing, as the sap flowing from the empty holes brings butterflies, beetles, flies, bees and ants, which the spider can feed. In the house, they feed on small insects brought to the light of lamps and windows, where the spiders often construct their webs.

Eating Customs

Arthropod-feeder, predator, carnivorous, insectivorous

Lifecycle

The female builds several white silk egg sacs, fixed within the web. The female remains with the eggs until they hatch. The spiderlings subsequently disperse. The spiders dwell for about two years and grow during summer.

The female spider never leaves its web unless compelled to, but keeps on fixing its old web. Male, when prepared to mate, go in search of females within their webs. The male plucks the web of the female to bring her attention. Once the male has ensured the female is open to mating, it then approach and inseminate her with it palps. They may mate several times and may subsequently stay for several days.

Predators

Enemies include the White-tailed Spider, parasitic wasps, and flies.

Dangers to Human

Black House Spiders are shy creators and seldom stings. The bite is usually painless and sometimes cause swellings. Symptoms like perspiration, vomiting, nausea and giddiness are recoded sometimes. After multiple bites, skin lesions have been recorded to happen in a lot of instances.

 

Pain may be relieved with a cold pack. If symptoms continue, seek medical attention.


 

Wolf Spiders

Wolf Spider

Identification

There are many species of Wolf Spiders. Their body colors are usually drab, with various designs in yellow and brown, black, gray and white; some inland species are a glowing salmon pink below. The spider’s underside is light gray, black or cream, occasionally pink with white or black markings. The sides of their jaws have a little orange spot. Two of the commonest Australian species are Lycosa godeffroyi and L. leuckartii, with a broad variety in the temperate areas of the continent.

Size range

1cm- 8cm

Distribution

Many Wolf Spiders have broad distributions, particularly across inland areas. This distribution is helped by their ability to disperse over substantial spaces as little juveniles or spiderlings.

Habitat

They’re found in dry inland island shrublands and woodlands to alpine meadows and wet coastal. Some species, like Lycosa furcillata and L. godefffroyi are common in suburban gardens.

Feeding Habit

Carnivorous, insectivorous, predator, arthropod-feeder

Feeding and Diet

Two species are known to be predators of the cane toads. Lycosa lapidosa will get little toads and frogs while L. obscuroides has been known biting and killing a fat toad within one hour.

Feeding Habit

Arthropod- feeder, predator, carnivorous, insectivorous

Other behaviors and adaptations

Most Wolf Spiders are wanderers while others may make temporary refuges in the plant, but some construct burrows, either open or with a trapdoor. While some use pebbles to stop up their holes, dry zone species build turrets to deflect floodwaters during wet periods. Burrows of the Grey Wolf Spider have a ring-shaped trap door that’s frequently left open when the spider is out hunting. The contour and materials used to form trapdoors and burrows may help to differentiate similar-appearing species.

Lifecycle

The female builds an egg sac of white papery silk, shaped like a sphere with an apparent ring-shaped seam, which it subsequently carries attached to her spinnerets with solid silk. When the spiderlings hatch, they can be carried around on the back of the female until they are prepared to disperse by ballooning into the air or on the earth. Such a high level of parental attention is relatively uncommon among spiders.

Wolf Spiders reside for up to two years.

Mating and reproduction

Mating takes place outside the burrow of the female at night. The male is attracted to the female by the scent it made, frequently connected with her dragline silk. Men perform a courtship right before mating.

Danger to Human

Symptoms of a Wolf spider sting are usually mild: localized pain or itchiness. It’s uncommon to experience: swelling, nausea and prolonged pain, dizziness, fast pulse.

If symptoms continue, seek medical attention.


 

Redback Spider

Redback Spider

Identification

The ill-famed Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus sp) of America is a close relative of the Redback Spider and just differs in appearance by the lack of a reddish dorsal stripe.

Female Redback Spiders are black, and sometimes brownish. They have an orange longitudinal line in the upper abdomen. Juveniles have additional white markings on the abdomen. Females have a body in the shape of a large pea…and a thin leg.

 

The males’ reddish markings are less distinct than the females’. The body is light brown and white markings on the abdomen.

Size range

1cm (female); 3mm-4mm

Similar Species

Cupboard Spider, Gray House Spider

Distribution

They’re found in Australia-wide and will live virtually everywhere as long as there’s a sheltered website, sufficient food and a warm conducive environment for breeding. They’re particularly common in urban and disturbed regions.

Habitat

Webs include a complex, funnel-like upper refuge place from which perpendicular, tacky catching threads run to earth. The Redback Spider favors closeness to human habitation, with webs being constructed in dry, sheltered sites which include logs, among stone, shrubs, junk piles, sheds, or bathrooms. Redback Spiders are common in wintertime.

Habitat kind

Terrestrial Habitat: pest, peridomestic

Feeding and Diet

Insects are the common prey of Redback Spiders, but they’re also effective at getting big creatures: king crickets, male trapdoor spiders, and little lizards, whenever they become entangled in the net.

Feeding Habits

Arthropod-feeder, predator, carnivorous, insectivorous

Life history mode

sedentary

Lifecycle

Once the female has mated, the female can store the sperm for several years, using it to fertilize several batches of its eggs for two years. Each egg sac contains close to 250 eggs and several weeks would pass before laying another batch of eggs. These sacs are placed within the net. Occasionally little ichneumonid wasps parasitize them. Spiderlings are cannibalistic and will eat other spiderlings.

 

Females grow on average in about four months. The smaller male grows on average in about 90 days. The male only live for about six or seven months whereas the females may live for two to three years.


 

Brown Widow

Brown Widow

Identification

The black widow is made up of mottling of brown and tan with black accent. In females that are mature, there’s three angled stripes on each flank and a dorsal longitudinal abdominal stripe. On top of each angled stripe, there’s a black mark, which is quite square and noticeable. The Brown Widow Spider have an hourglass, but it’s usually an orange color as opposed to the bright crimson of a black widow.

 

To identify brown widows from immature black widows is not easy and requires some expertise. Nevertheless, a brown widow can be recognized by the egg sac. The egg sac of a brownish widow has multiple silk spicules. The egg sac was described as looking like a World War II seaport mine designed to blow up boats or a big pollen grain. The egg sac of the Brown Widow Spider is easily identifiable.

Reproduction

Brown widows are prolific breeders. They can create many egg sacs in a very long time.

Habitat

Its net is built in woody plant life with branches, and in secluded, secure sites around houses.

Spider Bites

Venom toxicity is just one aspect when contemplating a spider’s sting possibility. Although, one study shows that, drop per drop, brown widow spider venom is more hazardous than other widow species. But they don’t have this high attacking power on a human. The reason behind the poorer effect of brownish widow bites on people is perhaps because the brown widow cannot inject as much venom as its bigger relatives can do.

 

The symptoms from the bite of the brown widow are not different from the sting of ordinary family spiders. Nevertheless, there’s one recent report of a verified brownish widow bite showing more severe symptoms that necessitated hospitalization of the sting victim

 

A cold bag could suppress the string area. If symptoms persist, see a doctor on time.


 

Sydney Funnel-Web Spiders

Sydney Funnel Web Spiders

Identification

Sydney Funnel-webs are glossy, dark brown to black spiders with fingerlike spinnerets (silk-spinning organs) at the end of their abdomen. Males have a big mating spur projecting from the center of their second pair of legs. If endangered, Sydney Funnel-webs reveal aggressive behavior, by showing their remarkable fangs.

Size range

1.5cm-3.6cm

Distribution

They particularly favor the forested upland regions of the central Cumberland Basin which include: Hornsby Plateau, a foothill of the blue mountain and the Waronora Plateau to the south. They do better in areas of sandy shale, clay or basaltic soils that can keep moisture more efficiently.

Distribution by area

Terrestrial Areas: Australian Alps – Australian Alps, NSW – Flinders, VIC – Murray Darling Depression, VIC – Murray Darling Depression. Others are: NSW – Naracoorte Coastal Plain, VIC – South East Corner, VIC, NSW North Coast, South East Coastal Plain – South East Corner, NSW – South Eastern Highlands, VIC – South Eastern Queensland, NSW – Victorian Volcanic Plain, NSW, Victorian Midlands – VIC

Habitat

Urban areas and in the forest

Habitat kind

Vegetation Habitat: closed forest

Feeding and Diet

Funnel webs burrow under rocks and logs in sheltered sites where they can find a humid and conducive climate. Funnel webs rush out of their burrow when prospective prey, like little lizards, cockroaches, beetles or snails, walk across smooth trip lines the spider has put outside its burrow. Then they return to their burrow to enjoy their meal.

Feeding Habit

predator

Other behaviors

They have a habit of falling into suburban swimming pools, where they can live many hours and drift into backyards. They enter the homes where they are occasionally trapped. Again, it’s true that Sydney Funnel-webs have one of the most potent venoms (to human) of any spider. Nevertheless, it is false that all funnel-web bite are life threatening. The venom of female and juvenile Sydney Funnel-web Spiders, especially, are considerably less hazardous. They are not quick to bite. They don’t pursue people, or leap onto, or live in houses – these are urban myths.

 

Several other spiders, in many cases, are mistaken for trapdoor spiders, mouse spiders, and even Black House Spiders.

Life History Mode

Male leave their burrows and wander throughout summer and fall to locate female partners

Danger to Human

The venom has a neurotoxin part that harms the human nervous system and, in the worst cases, could lead to death.


 

White Tailed Spider

White Tailed Spider

Identification

They have a dark reddish to gray, cylindrical shaped body, and deep orange-brown banded legs. The gray abdomen bears two faint white spots with a white spot at the tip. Also, the male has a hard, narrow plate on the front of the abdomen. The two species in southern Australia, Lampona cylindrata and L.murina look very much alike. Their stings have been found to in cause serious skin ulceration in people.

Size range

Males 12mm,  Females 18 millimeters

Distribution

Lampona cylindrata are found across southern Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia. Lampona murina are  found in eastern Australia from north-east Queensland to Victoria.

Habitat

White-tailed Spiders are vagrant hunters that dwell beneath stone and bark, in leaf litter, detritus, and logs in houses, gardens and bush.

Eating and Diet

They’re most active at night when they ramble about seeking for other spiders, their favorite food.

Lifecycle

Their specialized hair on the leg allows them to walk comfortably on sloppy surfaces. They make silk egg sacs, each comprising up to 90 eggs.

Dangers to Human

White-tailed Spider bites can cause severe pain followed by itching and swelling. Sometimes, there are unconfirmed reports of local ulceration, blistering- a condition known as Necrotising Arachnidism. The facts suggest that skin ulceration is not a common outcome of its bite.


 

References

  1. australianmuseum.net.au
  2. wikipedia.org

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