Spiders

A collection of spiders from Capertee Valley, NSW.

Huntsman spiders:

Holconia insignis (Sparassidae family) – These whopping stripy spiders come inside my house in summer and hide behind pictures and calendars.  For a size reference, this male was photographed with a ruler and would be 17 cm across.

male Holconia insignis, 17 cm across, emerging from behind a picture frame, 2 February 2019.

female Holconia insignis, note smaller palps and larger body compared to male, this one was about 12 cm across.  27 February 2019.

 

Web Dasher spiders:

Corasoides species, Desidae family – It has taken me 20 years to work out what animal makes these webs on the ground!  The webs are noticeable only after a heavy dew and only at certain times of the year.  I had even wondered if they were caterpillar nests, before eventually photographing a spider occupant. (Photos taken after rain, 27 August 2018).

Look closely to see a hole in the middle of each web, which leads to a tunnel in the ground where the spider lives.  The following diagram from the Australian Museum shows the structure of these webs.  When a small insect lands on the web platform, the spider dashes out to grab it.

Female Corasoides species near the entrance to her burrow, 30 August 2018.  Body length 5 mm.

 

Wolf Spiders

The Australian Arachnid group on Facebook could not identify this species nor genus.  So it is Lycosidae family, unknown species, a wolf spider of the type that makes a lid for its burrow, (not all wolf spiders have lidded burrows). Wolf spiders have 360 degree sight due to having 4 eyes encircling the head, with another 4 eyes at the front.  They are not poisonous.  The burrow was 1 cm diameter.  I photographed this female at her burrow entrance, 1 September 2018.

 

Trapdoor spiders

Arbantis species, Idiopidae family – I’ve seen these holes in the ground for many years and always wondered what lived within.  Eventually I saw a scary-looking dark brown spider tidying up the webby entrance to her burrow.  Despite the name, not all trapdoor species have a door on their burrow, and mine does not.  This species can inflict a painful bite but are not poisonous.  Some trapdoor species can live for over 40 years.  I photographed this female 21 October 2018.  The burrow entrance was 2 cm in diameter.

 

Jumping and Peacock Spiders

Maratus plumosus Plumed Peacock Spider, Salticidae family (Jumping Spiders) – The tiny Maratus spiders have been in the news a bit lately, with claims that even arachnaphobes will love them.  The prettily patterned males do a display dance to attract females, who may either then eat them, or mate with them.  Body length is about 5 mm, way too small to ever bite a human.  I was delighted to find some Maratus on my dry woodland property.  This one is a male, photographed in October 2016.

 

Hypoblemum villosum (Shaggy or Red-headed House Hopper), Salticidae family of Jumping Spiders – This female I found hopping around on river stones along Coco Creek.  She had lots of friends, including a more strongly coloured red-headed male.  The pattern on the female made me think of Fair Isle jumpers.  Tiny size, maybe 5 mm.  October 2016.

female
male
male

Jotus species, Salticidae family of Jumping Spiders

I found this tiny female Jotus sp in my kitchen, 20 April 2019.

 

Orb-weaving Spiders

Argiope keyserlingi, St Andrew’s Cross Spider, family Araneinae.  I photographed this beautifully-coloured, 7-legged specimen near Coco Creek, 27 January 2008.  There are many variations of this type of spider.

 

Backobourkia heroine or brounii  – Another orb-weaver, and what a wonderful name!  This fearsome-looking spider built a messy web and had even messier living quarters.  Photographed 25 October 2015, this large female was eating a native bee.

 

Comb-footed Spiders

Ariamnes colubrinus, Whip Spider, Theridiidae family

We found this peculiar-looking spider along Coco Creek on a Nature Conservation Trust walk, November 2012.  Tiff had thought it was a long-jawed spider, but it turned out to be a Whip Spider.

 

Ant-eating spiders:

Habronestes species, Zodariidae family – This small fast-running ground spider is an ant-mimic that eats ants.  It was about the size of a meat ant or perhaps a bit bigger and had yellow spots on its abdomen.  I was lucky to get a sharp photo!  1 April 2019.

 

Acknowledgments: Thanks to the Australian Arachnid facebook group for help with identifications.  The book A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia by Robert Whyte and Greg Anderson (2017) made a useful follow-up.