Scaffold web, cobweb weavers or comb-footed spiders
These spiders make a littery web and the webs can be described as an intersecting mass of scaffold work with a central area consisting of a three-dimensional trellis of silk. From the web to the ground are vertical threads with sticky glue at the bottom. If an insect crawls against the thread it will break and the prey will hang in the air awaiting the attack of the spider. Although they are small of size they are violent attackers and do not fear to attack much larger insects than themselves.
In Australia 20 genera and 90 species of this family are described.
Latrodectus hasselti, "Red-back", Jockey spider or "Black widow"
Latrodectus hasselti female guarding her egg-sacs and the very small male below.
Survey of 2144 cases of red-back spider bites: Australia and New Zealand, 1963--1976.
Med J Aust. 1978 Dec 30;2(14):620-3.
A black widow's toxin is 15 times more poisonous than that of a rattlesnake, making her one of the few spiders in the world capable of seriously harming humans.
Latrodectus builds her web in dark places near the ground, preferring the sheltered sides of buildings, abandoned rodent holes, or openings in stone outcroppings. She seldom ventures indoors, but anyone living in black widow territory should be aware that she sometimes makes a home in outbuildings such as woodsheds or outdoor toilets. The web is easily recognized by its tangled appearance, and a series of vertical trap threads extending to the ground. The web silk is extremely strong. Crawling insects getting stuck on the sticky threads are quickly lifted into the web where they're wrapped in layers of silk, injected with venom, and sucked dry. She lays 50 - 200 eggs usually in 4 or 5 egg-sacs. Females mature over a period of 4-8 month and males in a 2-3 month period. The female can live up to three years and males only 6 months. After 14 days the spiderlings emerge from the eggs. This emerging is often correlated on the onset of rain when temperatures are low and humidity high. The spider are cannibalistic and. The spider leaves the web by a process known as "ballooning". A thread line of silk is released until the drag of the air is strong enough to lift the young spider in the air.
There is a dispute whether she is a variant of the almost extinct New-Zealandic Kapito (Latrodectus mactans).
Juvenile (young) Latrodectus hasselti before her last moult where she gets her black suit with red spot(s).
|Latrodectus hasselti male from above (dorsal) side||Latrodectus hasselti male from below (ventral) side|
|Parasteatoda ZZ012 a look alike||Latrodectus hasselti in Nyang station (Emu creek) Western Australia|
|These spiders build untidy tangled webs amongst trees and along walls. Their webs sometimes contain a leaf or other debris that is used as shelter. The spider's size varies between 7 and 12 mm.
The high abdomen and the ringed legs are characteristic for the genus.
The male and female may occupy the same web for some time before mating occurs. After mating the female constructs up to eight pear-shaped papery brown egg-sacs.
These spiders feed on all kind of insects, even on ants.
|Achaearanea riparia (European species)|
Achaearanea/Theridon? ZZ011 with ant.
|Achaearanea/Theridon? ZZ126||Achaearanea/Theridon? ZZ126|
These spiders are closely related to Theridon spiders but their body is more elongated. They occur world-wide but most are found in tropical or sub-tropical habitats.
The adult spider length is between 3 - 8 mm
|Anelosimus ZZ392||Anelosimus ZZ055|
|Anelosimus ZZ503||Anelosimus ZZ516|
|Anelosimus ZZ595||Anelosimus ZZ537|
|This small spider can often been found in webs of the enourmous Nephila, golden orb-web,or
tent orb weavers, Cyrtophora spider.
But they can be present in any one web.
Up to 25 spiders can be present in a single web.
These spiders are named kleptoparasites, they steal prey from other spiders.
Only a few spiders from this genus catch prey in their own webs. The long legs and highly sensitive vibration detecting organs enable them to move stealthily in the web. Depending of the size of the host the spider is a commensal, just an inhabitant that does not steal food from the owner, or she is detrimental to the host by stealing normal prey from the host, forcing the host to reallocated the web more often, removing silk from the web or preying upon the host or its eggs.
The males are 2 mm and the female 4 mm and both have the same colour pattern.
Their common names are Quicksilver and Dewdrop spider.
If a disturbed spider falls out of the web in your hand, the spider starts whirling and resembles the behaviour of the liquid metal mercury (quicksilver).
The female makes globular-shaped papery brown egg-sac with a diameter of 4 mm similar to the whip spider below. They attach the sac at the outside of the web or just outside the web on twigs of leaves. Each sac contains around 30 white eggs.
|Argyrodes antipodianus egg-sac. picture Wendy Eiby|
|Argyrodes rainbowi female||Argyrodes rainbowi male|
|Argyrodes rainbowi female||Argyrodes rainbowi|
|Argyrodes ZZ265||Argyrodes ZZ391|
|Argyrodes ZZ391 in a web of a tent web spider|
Argyrodes occurs world-wide.
|Argyrodes ZZ542||Argyrodes ZZ543|
|Argyrodes ZZ583||Argyrodes ZZ583|
Whip or Stick spiders.
These very long spiders are often common in eastern Australia in gardens. Because of their narrow body they are difficult to spot between dead grass and sticks. The female is 20-25 mm and the male 12-15 mm. during the day she rests motionless with the legs outstretched. During the night they become active and hang downward towards the ground with a single snare attached to the ground. Even with this simple snare she is able to catch small insects. Her egg-sac is of strong papery silk and is 3-4 in diameter. The female guards her egg for the two weeks it takes before the young hatch.
|Cryptachaea gigantipes with vespula wasp|
|Its old name was Theridion gigantipes. It is a common spider in Australia and New Zealand that can befound in corners of walls and windows. Its size is about 6 mm.|
|Cryptachaea gigantipes||Cryptachaea gigantipes male and female by Greg Russell-Jones|
|Cryptachaea gigantipes female with youngsters||Cryptachaea gigantipes male|
|These spiders are 3 - 4 mm small and they occur in the tropics. This spider was originally named Arygyrodes pulcherrimus.|
|Chrysso pulcherrima||Chrysso pulcherrima|
|Chrysso pulcherrima||Chrysso pulcherrima|
|These spiders are small with a size between 2 and 4 mm. They construct small webs near to the ground where the feed on ants.
These spiders are also named gallows-spiders because they hang their prey until it dies.
|Dipoena ZZ465||Dipoena ZZ481|
Episinus is found worldwide.
This spider does not look like a Theridiid spider with its long and slender appearance.
Male and female are similar in appearance except for the male's slimmer abdomen. Courtship takes place in summer and is brief. The egg-sac is white and spherical and has coarse loop of silk around it.
These spiders make a very simple H or Y-shaped web near ground level. The sticky ends of the threads are attached to the ground and plants above the spider and are held by the spider. Individuals can also be found on a single horizontal line.
|Episinus ZZ272||Episinus bicornis|
|Episinus ZZ521||Episinus ZZ548|
|Euryopis elegans male||Euryopis splendens|
|Euryopis ZZ509||Euryopis ZZ486|
|Euryopis ZZ484||Euryopis ZZ429 by Farhan Bokhari|
Female adult 23110
|Spiders of this genus are small with a size between 2 and 6 mm in length.
Moneta species may be recognized by having their eyes in dorsal view in two more or less parallel rows
|Moneta australis F||Moneta australis M|
|Moneta variabilis||Moneta variabilis|
|Spiders with a length of 5 - 7 mm. They build a small tangled web.
They are found in all subtropical and tropical regions and the spider is strongly associated with humans. It colder regions, up to Germany, in lives in houses
|Nesticodes rufipes M||Nesticodes rufipes F (Red house spider) with egg cocoon|
Parasteatoda tepidariorum with cocoon
|Parasteatoda mundula||Parasteatoda mundula|
|Parasteatoda ZZ012||Parasteatoda ZZ012|
|Parasteatoda tepidariorum eating an ant||Parasteatoda tepidariorum fighting a much larger spider|
|Parasteatoda tepidariorum male||Parasteatoda tepidariorum|
|Steatoda ZZ212||Steatoda ZZ212|
|Steatoda ZZ072 with egg-sac||Steatoda ZZ072 with egg-sac|
Steatoda is a common house spider that can live for several (upto six) years.
These spider are very similar in shape and behaviour with Achaearanea.
|Theridion pyramidale||Theridion pyramidale|
|Theridion? ZZ178||Theridion? ZZ564|
|Spinnerets of Phoroncidia sextuberculata releasing threads of silk (picture by Farhan Bokhari)|
|Phoroncidia sextuberculata (six tubercles) (picture by Farhan Bokhari) WA||Phoroncidia rotunda|
Phoroncidia are small spiders with a size around 3 mm occuring in QLD, NSW, VIC and WA.
Colours of the marbled abdomen are white, black, orange and brown.
The egg-sac is a brownpapery sphere.
|Phoroncidia sextuberculata (picture by Farhan Bokhari) WA|
|This plastic toy-like spiders are strangely enough not commonly observed. The spider's size is around 5 mm.
Of the 23 described species world-wide the two presented here can be found in Queensland. More species may exist in Australia.
These spiders are closely related to the genus Chrysso.
|Thwaitesia argentiopunctata F|
|Thwaitesia argentiopunctata F||Thwaitesia argentiopunctata M|
|Thwaitesia nigronodosa F|
|Thwaitesia nigronodosa F||Thwaitesia nigronodosa M|
Spiders of this genus occur in the tropics.
Their size varies between 1 - 3.5 mm.
Theridula are frequently found on the underside of leaves, on bushes or in tall grass. Theridula has a web with long viscid lines that help capture flying prey. With their threads they bend leaves under which they live, mate, guard their egss and raise their youngsters.
|Theridula ZZ381 web|
|Theridula ZZ381 female with young spiders||Theridula ZZ381 male|
Ed Nieuwenhuys, 1 July 2012
8 April 2011 , 12 february 2011, 15 December 2010, January 4, 2009, 24 September 2006,
Ed Nieuwenhuys, Ronald Loggen 1997, Jurgen Otto 2005, Robert Whyte 2010
Copyright ã 1997-2011