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

A Guide to the Spiders of Australia, by Volker W. Framenau, Barbara C. Baehr, and Paul ZborowskiA Guide to the Spiders of Australia, by Volker W. Framenau, Barbara C. Baehr, and Paul Zborowski.

This is a great field guide to Australian spiders. It's a toss up between this one and Spiderwatch for my second favourite spider field guide. This one is a lot different to Spiderwatch. It's got more than twice the number of pages. It's got much better photos. It comes with a soft clear plastic cover protecting the usual soft cover. On the other side of the argument, it's got no index other than an index of family names (i.e. no index of actual spider names, not their common names and not their scientific names). Which makes it hard to find things in it, if you don't know what family they are in. Also it's based on families and not individual spider species. It's still a wonderful book though.

From the publisher, "This definitive guide to the subject, written by three experts in the field, offers a window into a fascinating world. Notorious species such as the Redback and the Sydney Funnel-web sit alongside less wellknown but equally intriguing spiders such as the ant-mimics and net-casting spiders. The introduction covers spider structure, evolution, reproduction, silk and venom, together with peculiarities of the family within an Australian context. The two main sections of the book deal with Trapdoor Spiders and Modern Spiders, and within each section there is a chapter on each of the 80 or so spider families that occur in Australia. Each is illustrated with beautiful photographs of the subjects, with more than 30 images per family for some of the larger groups such as the jumping spiders, and many rare images never before published. "

Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

See Also

Return to Australian Spiders
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Eastern Mouse Spider - Missulena bradleyi

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