There are many varieties of spiders in Australia, all of which thrive in different conditions. Some spiders varieties that are commonly found inside homes have adapted to the conditions indoors and can live in a less humid atmosphere and with less food consistently available, and some can even survive for months on end without food or water! Spiders that live outdoors prefer warm and damp surroundings, in which insects are their preferred source of food.
Many people have a fear of spiders and in the ACT we have a few species that are dangerous enough to warrant some attention. Spiders are part of our environment and have an important role to play in the control of insects in and around our homes but when there is an infestation or there are small children to worry about it may be time to take action.
- This species is a robust spiders, 1-1.5cm in body length.
- Carapace and legs are dark brown to black and the abdomen is charcoal grey. The dorsal pattern of white marking is sometimes indistinct.
- The female constructs several white silk eggs sacs, which are secured within the web retreat. The female stays with the eggs until they hatch. The spiders lings then disperse.
- The spiders mature during the summertime and live for about two years.
- Black house spiders webs form untidy, lacy sheets with funnel like entrances. They are found on tree trunks, logs, rock walls, and buildings (also in window frames and crevices).
- Commonly also found in urban areas, Black House Spiders also build webs in dark corners of windows, veranda’s, sheds of fences.
- The female spiders never leaves her web unless forced to, but keeps on repairing it – old webs can look grey and woolly from the constant additions of silk.
- Poisonous but no fatalities.
- Come in a variety of colours and patterns but are mostly brown, black and grey (there are over 100 species of Huntsman spiders in Australia).
Some species are very large reaching over 160mm in leg span.
- The two back pairs of legs are shorter than the ones at the front and the legs fan out sideways enabling them to walk forwards and sideways often giving them a crab-like appearance.
- The female Huntsman produces a flat, oval egg sac of whte papery silk and lays up to 200 eggs. She then places it under bark or a rock and stand guard over it, without eating, for about three weeks.
- The appropriate time, the mother spiders opens the egg sac to help her spiders lings out and she may stay with her spiders lings for several weeks.
- The lifespan of most Huntsman species is about two years or more.
- Huntsman spiders occur Australia-wide and are usually found on tree trunks, under bank, beneath stones or on the walls of houses. Some species are extremely compressed and live between the hairline cracks of sandstone and granite outcrops.
- The huntsman eats a variety of insects, arthropods, small lizards and frogs. The prey is not captured in a web but actively stalked and run-down with stealth and speed.
- Poisonous to humans but not fatal.
- The female redback is black with a distinctive red or orange marking on its back, although this may sometimes be absent. These markings may be broken into spots in front and, sometimes, this white lines may be visible.
- The female can grow up to 15mm long. Males are very small and usually only grow up to 5mm long.
- The male has more complex markings than those of the female, incorporating white and sometimes yellow markings.
- Female red-backs take about 2-3 months to mature and can lay 3-8 egg sacs between September and May. Each sac can contain up to 300 eggs. However, most of the hatchlings do not survive because they are eaten by their siblings and are very prone to wasp parasitism.
- Females may live for two to three years, whereas males only live for about six or seven months.
- Commonly found in logs or under rocks in the bush as they tend to reside in dark, dry areas. In suburban regions, the re-back has been known to live under roof eaves, floorboards, shelves, flower pots or in garden sheds.
- The web is a triangle of dry silk. The trap lines are sticky to assist with catching their prey.
- Redback spiders are carnivorous eating almost any small insects that are caught in their webs. They will also eat skinks and even juvenile mice, snakes and frogs.
- They are generally dark red or grey with dark orange banded legs.
- Younger spiders can bear two pairs of faint white spots with a white spot at the tip.
- Males can grow up to 12mm and females up to 18mm.
- White-tailed spiders lay eggs in a disc-shaped egg sac, containing up to 90 eggs.
- They lay these sacs in dark and sheltered places where the the females guard their eggs until they hatch.
- Commonly found underneath bark, rocks, leaf litter and logs in the bush and around the home and garden.
- They eat other spiders including daddy-long-legs, redbacks and black house spiders, and as such are most active at night when their prey is out hunting.
- They move indoors during summer and autumn where they look for shelter in nooks and crannies, searching for prey.