Spider Identification

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Spider Identification


Australia is a popular tourist destination, and home to a large population of spiders, many of them venomous. So what’s the deal with Australian spiders? Are they as deadly as we are led to believe?



Here’s how to identify them:



Funnel Web Spider:
A large black spider with a shiny head and thorax, the funnel web spider can have a body length up to five centimetres. It lives in silk-lined burrows in the ground or tree stumps.

The bite can be fatal, although with the availability of antivenom, there has been no fatalities since 1980.
Red Back Spider:
Red backs are easily recognised by their round, spherical bodies and the prominent red stripe on the back, which gives them their name. They live in untidy webs often located around buildings, machinery and wood stacks.

The bite is very poisonous and can be fatal for young children or the elderly but an effective antivenom is available.
White Tail Spider:
Identified by the cigar shaped, reddish grey to brown body with a white spot at the tail. Females can reach 18 millimetres in length. Often found beneath bark and rocks across southern Australia, the white tailed spider hunts at night.

This spider’s bite causes an initial burning pain, followed by swelling and itchiness, but despite media claims, no cases of necrotic ulcers have been confirmed.
Black House Spider:
The black house spider prefers to live indoors in a web that appears as a complex of tunnels. It’s often mistaken for a funnel web spider as it is around the same size and has the same shiny thorax.

Although the bite is painful, it is not lethal. Common symptoms include pain and swelling.
Wolf Spider:
This is one of the most common spiders across southern mainland Australia. The wolf spider can grow up to 25 millimetres in length and is often seen wandering across suburban lawns at night.

It will bite if provoked, but the effects are usually minor pain and swelling.
Trapdoor Spider:
There are several species of trapdoor spiders in Australia and they are mainly found in moist, forested areas. They live in tunnels lined with silk, which often have a silken plug at the top. Trapdoor spiders can grow up to five centimetres in length and are usually black or brown.

As a large spider, with equally large fangs, the trapdoor can deliver a painful bite that causes local swelling.
So forget those scary tales, chances are you won’t even meet some of these fascinating creatures. But if you do, a little common sense will keep you out of harm’s way.


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