Did you know that Australia is home to some of the world’s most dangerous spiders? In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the different species of Australian spiders. We will also provide tips on how to avoid being bitten by a spider.
Australia is home to a large number of different spider species. The most dangerous of these spiders are the funnel-web spiders, which are found in eastern Australia. These spiders are highly venomous and their bites can be fatal to humans. Other dangerous spider species include the redback spider, which is found throughout Australia, and the white-tailed spider, which is found in southern and eastern Australia.
Most spiders in Australia are not dangerous to humans and pose no threat. However, there are a few species that can cause serious health problems if their bites are not treated promptly. These include the brown recluse spider, which is found in Queensland, and the black widow spider, which is found in northern Australia.
If you are bitten by either of these spiders, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
There are a number of different methods that you can use to avoid being bitten by a spider. These include wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors, keeping your home free of clutter where spiders can hide, and using insect repellent when outdoors. If you are bitten by a spider, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
List of Spiders from Australia
- White-Tailed Spider
- Black House Spider
- Funnel Web Spider
- Garden Orb-Weaving Spider
- Harvestman Spider
- Huntsman Spider
- Mouse Spider
- Red Headed Mouse Spider
- Redback Spider
- St Andrews Cross Spider
- Trapdoor Spider
- Funnel Web Spider
- Wolf Spider
Funnel web spiders are a particularly dangerous type of spider found in Australia. There are several species of funnel web spiders, all of which are venomous. They live in humid environments such as under logs, in crevices, and in gardens. Funnel web spiders typically have a body length of around 1.5 inches, and their leg span can reach up to four inches. They are dark brown or black in color, and they have a distinctive silvery-white stripe running down their backs.
Funnel web spiders are aggressive predators, and they will readily attack humans if they feel threatened. Their venom is extremely potent, and it can cause serious health problems such as paralysis and respiratory failure. Funnel web spiders are considered to be one of the most dangerous types of spiders in the world.
If you come across a funnel web spider, it is important not to panic. Slowly back away from the spider and avoid making any sudden movements. If you are bitten by a funnel web spider, seek medical attention immediately.
The Black House Spider (Badumna insignis) is a common species of Australian spider. Black House Spiders live in most areas of Australia and they prefer urban habitat. Black House Spiders are sometimes referred to as ‘Window Spiders’. These spiders belong to the family Desidae along with the Grey House Spider (Badumna longinquus).
Black House spiders are commonly found by homeowners in window framing, under leaves, gutters, in brickwork and among rocks and bark.
In the Australian bush, Black House spiders are usually found upon rough-barked trees which provide good shelter for their retreats among the cracks in the bark.
The web of the Black House Spider has a ‘funnel-like’ shape, which is sometimes misunderstood as a Funnel-web Spider web. Their web is a messy-looking construction of triangular sail-like shapes, usually found stretched in the corner of the walls and windows. Somewhere in the web is a funnel-shaped entrance to the nest, where the spider spends most of its time, waiting for prey.
Wolf Spiders are members of the family Lycosidae. They are so named because their method of hunting is to run down their prey like that of a wolf. Wolf spiders are robust, fast and agile hunters that rely on good eyesight to hunt, typically at night. Wolf spiders resemble nursery web spiders (family Pisauridae), however, they carry their egg sacs by attaching them to their spinnerets (instead of by means of their jaws and pedipalps).
There are more than 100 genera and about 2,300 species of wolf spiders in the world. This family belongs to the order of Araneae, which includes all known spiders.
In Australia many Wolf Spiders have wide distributions, especially across inland regions. This distribution is aided by their ability to disperse aerially as spiderlings or small juveniles over large distances. Many also have very specific microhabitat preferences such as stream-side gravel beds, montane herb-fields or coastal sand-dunes.
Symptoms of a Wolf spider bite are usually minor, restricted to local pain or itchiness. Less commonly, symptoms can include swelling, prolonged pain, dizziness, rapid pulse and nausea.
Mouse Spiders are spiders of the genus Missulena. There are 11 known species in this genus, all but one of which are widespread across mainland Australia. Mouse Spiders can be found in both coastal and drier habitats, however, they do not occur in tropical rainforests. One species, Missulena tussulena, is found in Chile. Mouse Spiders are a kind of Trapdoor spider and sometimes mistaken for Funnel Web spiders.
Mouse Spiders are medium to large spiders, which range in length from 1 centimetre to 3 centimetres. Female Mouse Spiders are usually 3 centimetres long whereas males are smaller at around 2 centimetres long.
Mouse spiders live in burrows in soil covered with a hinged top known as the trapdoor. Mouse spider burrows can extend to the depth of 30 centimetres (12 inches). The burrow provides a refuge from predators, parasites, low humidity and high temperatures. Male Mouse spiders will often wander from the burrow in search of mates, however, the females will remain inside the burrows spending most of her life in there unless accidentally dug up.
The Huntsman Spider is a common name given to the family ‘Sparassidae’. The larger specimens of these spiders are called ‘Wood Spiders’ in most parts of Australia, due to their common preference for inhabiting woody places. Huntsman Spiders are a diverse and relatively harmless group of spiders, with 13 genera and 94 described species.
Common Huntsman spiders (Isopeda, Isopedella)
Banded Huntsman Spiders (Holconia)
Badge or Shield Huntsman spiders (Neosparassus)
Tropical or Brown Huntsman spiders (Heteropoda)
- Flat Huntsman Spiders (Delena)
The eyesight of the Huntsman Spider is not nearly as good as that of the Jumping Spiders (Salticidae). However, their vision is quite sufficient to detect approaching humans or other large animals from some distance.
Huntsman Spiders are found in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, Florida and Hawaii and possibly in many other tropical and semi-tropical regions. Adult Huntsman spiders do not build webs, however, they hunt and forage for food.
Huntsman Spiders are found living under loose bark on trees, in crevices on rock walls and in logs, under rocks and slabs of bark on the ground and on foliage. Dozens of the social huntsman species, (Delena cancerides), can be seen sitting together under bark on dead trees and stumps, however, they can also be found on the ground under rocks and bark slabs.
The white-tailed spider is a type of spider found in southern and eastern Australia. It is a medium-sized spider, with a body length of around one inch. It is light brown or beige in color, and it has two distinctive white stripes on its back.
The white-tailed spider is a predatory spider, and it feeds on other small spiders and insects. It is not considered to be dangerous to humans, but its bites can cause localised swelling and pain. If you are bitten by a white-tailed spider, it is important to seek medical attention.
There are a number of different methods that you can use to avoid being bitten by a white-tailed spider. These include wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors, keeping your home free of clutter where spiders can hide, and using insect repellent when outdoors. If you are bitten by a white-tailed spider, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
The Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti) is a potentially dangerous spider native to Australia. The Redback Spider resembles a Black widow spider. The Redback Spider is a member of the genus Latrodectus or the widow family of spiders, which are found throughout the world. They are common in disturbed and urban areas.
Redback spider webs consist of a tangled, funnel-like upper retreat area from which vertical, sticky catching threads run to ground attachments. The Redback Spider favours proximity to human habitation, with webs being built in dry, sheltered sites, such as among rocks, in logs, shrubs, junk-piles, sheds, or toilets. Redback Spiders are less common in winter months. Daddy-long-legs Spiders and White-tailed Spiders are known to catch and kill Redback Spiders.
Redback spiders, along with Australian funnel-web spiders (a category of spider which includes the notorious Atrax robustus, or Sydney funnel-web spider), are the most dangerous spiders in Australia. The redback spider has a neurotoxic venom which is toxic to humans with bites causing severe pain. Redback bites occur frequently, particularly over the summer months.
More than 250 cases receive antivenom each year, with several milder envenoms probably going unreported. Only the female bite is dangerous. Redback spiders can cause serious illness and have caused deaths. However, since Redback Spiders rarely leave their webs, humans are not likely to be bitten unless a body part such as a hand is put directly into the web and because of their small jaws many bites are ineffective. The venom acts directly on the nerves, resulting in release and subsequent depletion of neurotransmitters.
Orb Weaver Spiders This family of spiders is a very large one and includes over 2800 species in over 160 genera worldwide, making it the third largest family of spiders known behind the jumping spider family (Salticidae) and the second largest family of spiders called Linyphiidae commonly known as Sheet Weavers because of the shape of their webs.
Orb-weaving spiders are three-clawed builders of flat webs with sticky spiral capture silk. The building of a web is an engineering feat, begun when the spider floats a line on the wind to another surface. The spider secures the line and then drops another line from the centre, producing a ‘Y’ shape. The rest of the web is then constructed before the final sticky capture spiral is woven into place. Some species of Orb Weaver spiders remain in their webs day and night.
The Black Widow (Latrodectus spp.) is a spider notorious for its neurotoxic venom (a toxin that acts specifically on nerve cells). The Black Widow Spider is a large widow spider found throughout the world and commonly associated with urban habitats or agricultural areas.
As with many venomous creatures, the brightly colored markings serve as a warning to predators. Eating a black widow spider will not normally kill a small predator (birds), however, the sickness that follows digestion is enough for the creature to remember that the bright red marking means ‘do not eat’. Males bear similar marks to the females to serve as warning while they are searching for mates, however, the marks are not as prominent (not as brightly colored, or as large).