Spiders

Arachnida Araneida

Most Active

SpiderPeakSeason

Distribution/habitat

  • Sydney funnel web: NSW (other related species occur elsewhere); ground dweller; builds tunnels in moist, cool locations (e.g. under rocks, logs)
  • Redback: widespread; common in urban areas; makes webs in dry, sheltered sites (e.g. pot plants, out-houses, letter-boxes, garden furniture)
  • White-tail: widespread particularly SE; common in urban areas; cool, moist locations (e.g. outside – garden mulch; inside – bathrooms, laundries)
  • Mouse spider: throughout Australia; ground dweller common near waterways, may be found in suburban gardens, often in swimming pools
  • Black house spider: widespread, common in urban areas; makes webs in dark, undisturbed corners of windows, verandas, sheds, under eaves

Habits

  • Many species are nocturnal (except the mouse spider)
  • Many ground dwelling species wander for example after heavy rain, landscaping.
  • Many species wander during the mating season, normally summer/autumn
  • Activity is often particularly high during periods of high humidity

Life cycle

  • Eggs produced in egg sac (mass of silken threads enclosing many eggs)
  • Eggs hatch inside the egg sac; spiderlings moult before they emerge
  • Some species disperse by ballooning through the air on a thread
  • Spiders moult several times before becoming adult. Life cycle – less than 12 months for webbing spiders, many years for some ground-dwellers

Damage

Several species are dangerous, their bites ranging from extremely toxic to painful. Webbing spiders are nuisance pests.

Control

  • Use sprays with kill and control properties . Barrier sprays discourage spiders from entering inside.

Prevention of bites – checklist

  • Avoid leaving clothes and toys on the floor
  • Wear gloves when gardening
  • Wear shoes outside, particularly at night
  • Be alert for wandering ground-dwelling spiders: after periods of very wet weather; after landscaping/digging; after the widespread application of insecticides; during summer (mating season)

DANGEROUS

Identification Description Habitat Danger Level Active

Sydney funnel-web

image Male: 30-35 mm Female: 25 mm Glossy black Ground dweller, moist, cool places Highly aggressive Very toxic Summer & autumn

Redback

image Male: 12-15 mm Female: 3-4 mm Black, red stripe (NOT ALWAYS PRESENT) Loose web in dry, sheltered sites Non aggressive Very toxic Summer

White-tail

image Male: 12-15 mm Female: 5-8 mm Grey, white tip to abdomen Cool, moist sites (often in bathrooms) Non aggressive Local pain, necrosis Summer & autumn

PAINFUL BITE

Identification Description Habitat Danger Level Active

Mouse spider

image Male: 20-25 mm Female: 12-18 mm Black with red hairs Ground dweller Non aggressive Toxic Autumn & early winter

Black house spider

image Male: 15-18 mm Female: 8-10 mm Dark brown to black Messy web in dry areas (often windows) Non aggressive Toxic Treat late spring/early summer

NON TOXIC/LOW RISK

Identification Description Habitat Danger Level Active

Wolf spider

Male: 20-25mm Female: 15-20 mm Mottled grey and brown Ground dweller, often in lawns Non aggressive May be toxic Painful for short time Summer

Trapdoor spiders

Male: 25-30 mm Female: 20 mm Brown to dark brown Ground dweller Non aggressive Mildly toxic Summer & autumn

Huntsman

Male: 35-40 mm Female: 15-25 mm Buff with dark patches Under bark, often enters houses Non aggressive Painful but not toxic Beneficial Summer

Garden orb-weaving

Male: 20-25 mm Female: 5-10 mm Dark-light brown, patterned Orb-webs and weavers construct in gardens, between buildings and shrubs Non aggressive Not toxic Beneficial Summer

Golden orb weaver

Male: 35-40 mm Female: 5-6 mm Yellow, purplish abdomen Orb-webs and weavers construct in gardens, between buildings and shrubs Non aggressive Not toxic Beneficial Summer

St Andrew’s cross

Male: 10-15 mm Female: 5-6 mm Brown, striped abdomen Orb-webs and weavers construct in gardens, between buildings and shrubs Non aggressive Not toxic Beneficial Summer