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Spiders
 

Identification

Spiders have:

4 x pairs of legs;
4 x pairs of eyes;
2 x body segments (a head fused with the thorax and an abdomen);
At the end of the abdomen there are spinnerets which are used to spin silk;
At the head they have fangs used to deliver venom to kill prey, for defence, to capture prey and excavate burrows;
No chewing mouthparts;
No wings;

Habits

Spiders are found in all terrestrial habitats across Australia and some have even adapted to a semi-aquatic lifestyle.

Spiders can commonly be found in leaf litter and under rocks, logs or the bard of trees.  Many dig burrows in the soil, while others spin distinct webs amongst vegetation.

  

Funnelweb Spider    

This spider is found in all states across Australia.  The female lives in a long web funnel which she constructs in loose soil or debris in fairly moist and sheltered places.  The mature male is more of a wanderer, especially during January to April, and for this reason may enter houses particularly when his habitat is disturbed

Both sexes are black to red brown and their cephalothorax is shiny.  Body length of a female is 30mm and of the male 25mm.  The male has a large spur on the inner margin of each of the second front pair of legs.

The venom of the Funnelweb Spider is extremely toxic to humans, that of the male spider being much more so than that of the female.  

 
  

Redback Spider

The Redback Spider is found all over Australia in open bushland, but is especially common in urban areas.  As one of a number of spiders that prefer inhabited areas, and it often builds its web in places like sheds or outhouses, bins, drains, beneath kids toys and outdoor furniture.  Their webs are easily spotted, they are very messy and sticky and collect leaves and other rubbish blown into them by the wind.

Their webs are usually below waist height and when cleaned should first be treated otherwise a venomous bite may be incurred .However, be aware of Redback spiders inhabiting roof voids, as they sometimes get transferred up there with roof trusses or air conditioning ducts.

Bites are always from females as the male is much smaller and has jaws that are unable to penetrate the skin.  The venom is highly toxic to humans but effective anti-venom is widely available.

Redback spiders are shiny black in colour and have a distinctive red mark on its abdomen.  The female length is 10-14mm and the male 2-3mm.

 
  

White Tailed Spider

The White Tailed Spider is a dark grey, cylindrical spider.  The legs have a dull reddish tinge, which are banded in a dark grey/brown colour.  They have a distinctive white tip on their abdomen.  The females
are up to 18mm long and the males 12mm.

White Tailed Spiders are vagrant hunters that live beneath bark, rocks and in leaf litter and logs, in bushland and gardens and they are often seen in houses.  They are rumoured to be attracted to linen, sometimes brought in when bringing in the washing.

They are most active at night when they wander about hunting for other spiders, their preferred food.

During summer and autumn White Tailed Spiders are often seen in and around houses where they find both sheltered nooks and crannies and plenty of their favoured black house spiders and daddy long legs.

If bitten try to catch the spider for later identification.  If pain or inflammatory symptoms develop, seek medical attention.  Apply a cold pack if pain persists.

 
  

Sydney Brown Trapdoor Spider 

This spider is often confused with the Funnelweb.  It is brown to dark brown, is also more hairy and its holes are found in more open and drier areas.  The length of the body of the female is 25-30mm and the male 20mm.  The male has boxing glove palps.  Their bites are usually only painful but not toxic.

 
  

The Mouse Spider
  
The female is often mistaken as a Funnelweb because of its shiny cephalothorax.  Unlike the Funnelweb, the female mouse spider has very short legs, moves slowly, is not aggressive and lives in open day areas where its holes are often easily seen.

The body of the female is 25mm long and the male 10-20mm.  There are no spurs on the legs on either male or female.  Its bite is painful but not toxic.

 
  

Huntsman Spider

These are large fierce looking spiders, sometimes being 100-120mm wide, including body and legs.  They are brown in colour and live under bark of trees and in roof voids of houses.  They are also found in cars, which were parked beneath large trees. They are not aggressive and if provoked to bite no symptoms of toxicity follow.

 
Other Webbing Spiders (Not Toxic) 

 
Garden Orb Weaving Spider 

 
Golden Orb Weaving Spider

  

 
Saint Andrews Cross 

 
Daddy Long Legs 

  

 
Wolf Spider 

 
Leaf Curling Spider 

  
  
  
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