Subject: What spider is this
Location: Victoria
October 27, 2015 5:58 pm
Hi I found this guy running outside on a hot night. I have an idea of what it might be was hoping if you could tell me. Hopefully it’s not what I think it is
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Funnel Web Spider

Funnel Web Spider

We thought this looked like a male Trapdoor Spider, and when we began to research its identity, we thought we found a match with the Sydney Funnel Web Spider, Atrax robustus, which according to the Australian Museum site:  “are shiny, dark brown to black spiders with finger-like spinnerets (silk-spinning organs) at the end of their abdomen. Males have a large mating spur projecting from the middle of their second pair of legs. If threatened, Sydney Funnel-webs show aggressive behaviour, rearing and displaying their impressive fangs.”  Regarding the bite of the Sydney Funnel Web Spider, the Australian Museum states:  “Again, it is true that Sydney Funnel-webs have one of the most toxic venoms (to humans) of any spider. However, it is not true that all funnel-web bites are life-threatening. The venom of juvenile and female Sydney Funnel-web Spiders is much less toxic. Nor do they jump onto, or chase people, or live in houses – these are all urban myths.”  We then checked Animal Diversity Web and learned that Sydney Funnel Web Spiders are:  “Found only in Australia within a 160-kilometer radius of Sydney. There are other species of funnel-web spiders in Eastern Australia, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania” so we suspect your individual is a different species of Funnel Web Spider.  Since we will be away from the office for a few days and we are currently post-dating submissions to go live in our absence, we thought this would make a great Halloween posting, a holiday you probably do not have in Australia, as well as a good Bug of the Month for November 2015.  Poor spider appears to have met an untimely end, so in the spirit of promoting appreciation of the lower beasts, we are also tagging your submission as Unnecessary Carnage.

Funnel Web Spider

Funnel Web Spider

Thank you so much for the quick response.  I thought it was a Sydney funnel as well I’m not disrespecting you at all I have read the same information but I just don’t believe that they couldn’t be here in Victoria. I have sent the pics to several different sights and exterminators and they all say Sydney Funnel Web too so I don’t know what to do I’m just worried about my kids. So if you think it might be another type it would be fantastic if you can find out and let me know. Thanks again. Happy Halloween
Hayley Saunders

Hi Hayley,
If it is true that Sydney Funnel Web Spiders are found only within 160 kilometers of Sydney, then your spider is probably a different species.  It would stand to reason that other Funnel Web Spiders, especially if they are in the same genus, would look very similar, but perhaps do not have as dangerous a bite.  We would suggest taking it to your nearest natural history museum and ask if there is an arachnologist that could verify its identity. 

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Location: Victoria, Australia

2 Responses to Funnel Web Spider, we believe, from Australia

  1. Could be a mouse spider ( small one)

  2. Why wouldn’t Australia celebrate Halloween?

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