Eastern Mouse Spider - Missulena bradleyi

Eastern Mouse Spider

Missulena bradleyi

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

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

Spiders: A Wild Australia Guide, by Patrick HonanSpiders: A Wild Australia Guide, by Patrick Honan.

96 pages. This is a smaller spider guide showing the most well known spiders and then a few more.

From the publisher, "Australia is home to more than 2000 known species of spiders - and it is estimated that four times that number actually exist in this country waiting to be discovered! Within the ranks of Australian spiders we find some of the most uniquely interesting and skilled creatures of the animal world, along with a few potentially-deadly species and even more harmless individuals with fearsome reputations. Love them or loathe them, spiders are a part of everyday life, and this Steve Parish WILD AUSTRALIA GUIDE provides an insight into the lives of some of these often-reclusive visitors to our gardens, homes and wild places. From how to identify them and where they live, to their unique skills and behaviours, this guide lets you get up close to some of the most common Australian spiders. Who knows? You may even find some of these fascinating creatures living right under your nose."

Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

See Also

Return to Australian Spiders
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