Spiders

Australian spiders come in a startling variety of colours, shapes and sizes

There is an estimated 10,000 species inhabiting a variety of ecosystems

Some species make distinctive webs and many make silken retreats for protection or for their egg sacs and some even dig holes with elaborate silken trip lines around the entrance

They are abundant and widespread and are natural controllers of insect populations.

  • Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti)

    (Latrodectus hasselti)
    Redback Spider

    Facts

    • Redback spiders are found all over Australia but are common in distributed and urban areas
    • These spiders are black in colour with a red or orange stripe on the abdomen
    • Females have a body about the size of a pea and slender legs
    • Webs are built in dry, sheltered sites, e.g., among rocks, in logs, culverts, sheds, outdoor toilets etc.
    • Bites occur frequently, especially in warmer months
    • Bites can cause serious illness and some have caused deaths, there is an anti venom available no deaths have been caused since its introduction
  • Daddy Longlegs Spider

    (Pholcus phalangioides)
    Daddy Longlegs Spider

    Facts

    • Daddy long legs are easily recognised by their extremely long, skinny legs and small body
    • They are cream to pale brown in colour
    • Can be found throughout Australia
    • This spider is originally from Europe and was introduced accidentally into Australia
    • Can be found in most urban areas, in particular houses
    • If it is disturbed in the web it responds by setting up a very fast spinning motion, becoming a blur to anyone watching
    • Its tiny fangs can pierce through human skin but is not considered harmful
  • Jumping Spider

    (Family Salticidar)
    Jumping Spider

    Facts

    • Also known as the bold jumping spider has a distinctive black or brown gray hairy abdomen
    • Diet consists of a range of insects and other spiders and are known to prey for dragonflies, birds and lizards
    • Have extremely good vision
    • Frequently seen in urban, suburban and agricultural habitats
    • May bite humans in self defence, their daytime hunting habits help reduce the number of human bite cases
    • If bitten, symptoms usually involve slight pain, itching and local reactions such as red bumps that last from 1-2days
  • Sydney Funnel Web Spider

    (Atrax Robustus)
    Sydney Funnel Web Spider

    Facts

    • Sydney Funnel-webs are shiny, dark brown to black spiders with finger like spinnerets at the end of their abdomen
    • If threatened the spider shows aggressive behaviour, rearing and displaying their impressive fangs
    • Can be found all over sydney favouring the forested upland areas surrounding the lower more open country of the central cumberland basin
    • Diet consists of beetles cockroaches, small lizards or snails
    • This spider has one of the most toxic venoms to humans however their bites are not life threatening
  • White Tail Spider

    (Lampona cylindrata)
    White Tail Spider

    Facts

    • White tailed spiders have a dark reddish to grey, cigar shaped body and dark orange brown banded legs
    • Bites from this spider have been controversially implicated in causing severe skin ulceration in humans
    • Can be found beneath bark and rocks, in leaf litter, logs and detritus in bush, gardens and houses
    • Most active at night, their diet consists of other spiders which is their preferred food
    • If bitten by this spider it can cause initial burning pain followed by swelling and itchiness at the bitten area
  • Black House Spider

    (Badumna insignis)
    Black House Spider

    Facts

    • Also known as the window spider
    • Dark robust spider, with the female being larger than the male
    • The webs of these spiders have a 'funnel like' shape which is sometimes misunderstood as a funnel web spider web
    • Their webs form untidy, lacy silk sheets with funnel like entrances
    • Can be found on tree trunks, logs, rocks walls and buildings
    • Diet consists of flies, beetles, butterflies, bees and ants
    • Timid animals and bites are infrequent, the bite may be quite painful and cause local swelling, symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sweating and giddiness are occasionally recorded
  • Huntsman Spider

    (Family Sparassidae)
    Huntsman Spider

    Facts

    • Also called Tarantula and Giant Crab Spider
    • They are large, long legged spiders and are mostly grey to brown in colour
    • Have flattened bodies adapted for living in narrow spaces under loose bark or rock crevices
    • Diet consists of insects and other invertebrates
    • Predators of huntsman spiders include birds and geckoes, spider wasps and egg parasites
  • Cobweb Spider

    (Theridions)
    Cobweb Spider

    Facts

    • Females are larger than males
    • Build irregular 3 dimensional webs of sticky silk
    • Diet consists of insects, and occasionally other spiders
    • Can be found hanging from irregular webs in dark corners of houses, basement, garages and outbuildings
    • These spiders are nocturnal
  • Mouse Spiders

    (missulena)
    Mouse Spider

    Facts

    • Mouse Spiders have high, bulbous heads and jaws
    • The spinnerets are short, the last segment domed and button like
    • Can be found all over Australia, in habitats ranging from open forest to semi arid shrub land
    • Some mouse spiders have a very toxic venom which is potentially as dangerous as that of the sydney funnel web spider, however few cases of serious envenomation have been reported
  • Wolf Spiders

    (Lycosidae)
    Wolf Spiders

    Facts

    • Their body colours are typically drab, with most having variegated patterns in brown and yellow, grey, black and white
    • Can be found in habitats ranging from dry inland, shrub lands and woodlands to wet coastal forests and alpine meadows
    • Diet consists of cane toads and frogs
    • Build burrows, either with open or trap door
    • Symptoms of a wolf spider bite are usually minor, restricted to local pain or itchiness
  • Trapdoor Spider

    (Misgolas villosus)
    Trapdoor Spider

    Facts

    • Trapdoor spiders have short, blunt spinnerets
    • Females are larger than males and tend to be harder to identify to species level
    • Tend to be quite timid, although the male may rear up if threatened
    • Can be found all around Australia
    • Play an important role in controlling garden pests and since they are not considered to be a major threat to humans, it is best to just leave them alone
    • Their bites are not dangerous, local pain and swelling may occur
  • Orb Weaving Spider

    (Araneidae)
    Orb Weaving Spider

    Facts

    • Are reddish brown or grey in colour with a leaf shaped pattern on their fat, roughly triangular abdomens which also have two noticeable humps towards the front
    • Form their webs in openings between trees and shrubs where insects are likely to fly
    • They build large, strong, vertical orb webs
    • When food is plentiful these spiders will release large prey rather than risk a fight that may damage their web
    • Diet consists of flies, beetles, bugs and cicadas
    • These spiders are reluctant to bite, the symptoms are usually negligible or mild local pain, numbness and swelling
  • Sac Spiders

    (Clubionidae)
    Sac Spiders

    Facts

    • These Spiders make small cylindrical or ovoid silk retreat sacs
    • They have slender bodies, large jaws and long, thin legs, with the males being especially slender
    • Can be found throughout Australia in forest and grassland habitats
    • Their bites are not common and symptoms are usually minor, symptoms include local pain and swelling