been reported and some medical studies suggest thatthis may be due to a secondary infection of the wound.Sensational media reporting of severe cases of skinulceration (a condition termed ‘necrotic arachnidism’)has given this spider a fearful reputation it probablydoesn’t deserve.Recent studieshave monitored themedical outcomes ofhundreds of verifiedwhite-tailed spiderbites and foundnot a single caseof ulceration. It iscertainly safe tosay that necroticarachnidism is not acommon outcome ofa white-tailed spider bite. If they are common in thehouse, it is a good idea to check bedding before goingto bed. Also, check your shoes before putting them onand do not leave clothing on the floor, as these spidersare often found sheltering in such situations.
arecosmopolitan spiders and are probably the best knownspiders world wide. They are almost always associatedwith human dwellings, famous for their small, daintybodies with long legs up to 50 mm in length. Thesespiders are oftenfound in the house orshed with their thin,tangled webs behinddoors or attached toceilings and upperwalls in the cornersof rooms. The non-sticky web of thedaddy long-legs isreally just a retreat forthe spider and notdesigned to catchprey. The moment aninsect ventures within striking range of the spider it willrace out, bite and tangle up its prey until the strugglequickly ceases.These spiders are harmless but, quite incorrectly,renowned for being deadly poisonous. Although theirvenom is quite toxic, their tiny fangs are incapable ofpenetrating human skin and the venom glands hold solittle poison that it renders this distinction as merelymythical.
Huntsman spiders (family
) are the large‘hairy scary’ spiders that absolutely terrify people whenthey scuttle out from behind a curtain or the sun visor inthe car. In reality, Australian huntsman spiders are afascinating group with 13 genera and 94 describedspecies. Many huntsman spiders live socially in largefamily groups with the mothers showing extraordinarymaternal instinct. These large, hairy grey-brown spidershave flattened bodies and are found throughoutAustralia, preferring to live outside under the bark ofTrapdoor spiders are similar in appearance to fellowmygalomorphs, the funnel-web spiders. Unlike funnel-web spiders, though, they are not consideredlife endangering,although themouse spider, atype of trapdoor, iscapable of a verynasty bite. Not alltrapdoor specieshave a trapdoorlid covering theirholes, althoughthey all livein burrows. Thefemales have longlife spans ranging from 5–20 years, taking several yearsto reach maturity. Insects are their main prey, but preywill also include other spiders and other small animals.
Black house spiders
Black house spiders
are also calledwindow spiders because of the tendency to build theirwebs around window frames. These untidy, zigzagthreaded webs usually have one or two funnel-shapedentrances leading into a tubular retreat, and somepeople mistakenly think they may be funnel-web spiders.These robust, hairy spiders range from 9 mm (male) to18 mm (female) in length, are grey to black in colour, andare found Australia wide.Black house spidersare timid and bites tohumans are rare butmay be painful andcan cause generalsymptoms such asnausea, sweatingand vomiting. In afew cases necroticskin lesions havebeen reported aftermultiple bites.These spiders catch a lot of flying insects around thehome and garden, but are generally not tolerated wellbecause of their messy webs around windows, eavesand even the mirrors of the family car! Enemies of thesespiders include parasitic wasps, birds and the white-tailed spider.
are commonand widespread across Australia. They are notweb builders but vagrant hunters and are oftenseen inside houses, especially on summer evenings,wandering in search of prey. They are medium sizedspiders, with cylindrical abdomens, grey to black bodieswith stout legs and a white patch at the tip of theabdomen. They feed mainly on other spiders, pluckingat their webs to imitate the struggling of an ensnaredinsect and then seizing the unsuspecting spider when itcomes out of its retreat.White-tailed spider bites typically cause initial burningpain followed by swelling and itchiness at the site.Occasionally, weals or cases of blistering ulceration have
Female black house spider in her messy web.Daddy long legs are harmless and do not bite humans.A trapdoor spider out of its burrow.Female white tailed spider ready to lay eggs.