Eastern Mouse Spider - Missulena bradleyi

Eastern Mouse Spider

Missulena bradleyi

Danger: Dangerously Venomous Dangerously venomous

Other Names: Bradley's Mouse Spider

Family: Actinopodidae (Mouse Spiders)

Size: Male body 14 mm, Female body 20 mm

Distribution:

Habitat:

References: Whyte and Anderson

About the Eastern Mouse Spider

Eastern Mouse Spiders are smaller but look even more stockily built than funnel webs and trapdoor spiders. They look like the spider equivalent of the short guy who spends hours a day in the gym. They have absolutely massive fangs and fang bases compared to the size of the rest of the spider. I used to think that if they were larger, they might win a vote for the most frightening-looking of all spiders. Though now, after editing the up-close photos, I think their small narrow-spaced eyes make them look a bit goofy, and less scary than how I used to think of them.

Note that living mouse spiders would look blacker than the pictures of dead ones here, which would make them look more scary.

In the summer of 2015-16 a friend was sitting on her lounge feeding her young child..... when she was absolutely terrified to feel, and then see, a large black funnel-web-like spider crawling along her upper arm. She flicked it off her onto the floor and her husband caught it in a jar. The Australian Museum confirmed that it was an Eastern Mouse Spider. At least it wasn't a funnel web! If I remember correctly, it had been raining a lot and the mouse spider probably came inside to keep dry.

Danger: Eastern Mouse Spiders can be deadly though it's much less likely than for a funnel web. Apparently they are not that agressive towards people. They do sometimes bite when disturbed, but they only rarely inject venom when they bite humans. Presumably they're conserving their venom, which they need to catch their prey. Their venom is somewhat similar to funnel web venom.

Note that dead spiders usually fade in colour, so nearly all the spiders will look blacker or darker in colour in real life than they do in the photos of dead spiders from the museum.

Eastern Mouse Spider - Missulena bradleyi
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 3715 x 2727.

Eastern Mouse Spider - Missulena bradleyi
Left to Right: Southern Tree Funnel Web, Sydney Funnel Web male (L), female (R), Brown Trapdoor male (L), female (R), Eastern Mouse Spider male (L), female (R). Photo taken at the Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 3460 x 788.

Eastern Mouse Spider - Missulena bradleyi
Male Eastern Mouse Spider. Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 3780 x 2696.

Eastern Mouse Spider - Missulena bradleyi
Female Eastern Mouse Spider. Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 4060 x 2832.

Eastern Mouse Spider - Missulena bradleyi
Male Eastern Mouse Spider. Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 1824 x 912.

Eastern Mouse Spider - Missulena bradleyi
Female Eastern Mouse Spider. Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 1932 x 896.

Recommended Reading

A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia, by Robert Whyte and Greg Anderson - Eastern Mouse Spider - Missulena bradleyi A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia, by Robert Whyte and Greg Anderson.

This is my favourite field guide to Australian spiders. It has a proper index. It has amazing photographs. If I had to find a weak point of it, it would be that there are so many photos that there is less writing than there could have been. I like photos though so it's all good. 464 pages.

From the publisher, "A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia uses photographs of live animals to enable identification of commonly encountered spiders to the family level and, in some cases, to genus and species. Featuring over 1300 colour photographs, it is the most comprehensive account of Australian spiders ever published. With more than two-thirds of Australian spiders yet to be scientifically described, this book sets the scene for future explorations of our extraordinary Australian fauna."

Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase from Amazon.com.au (Australian Site)

See Also

Australian Mammals
Australian Birds
Australian Reptiles
Australian Frogs
Australian Fish
Australian Wild Plant Foods

Return to Australian Spiders
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