Other Names: Micro Gondwanan Spiders
Family: Anapidae (Tiny Orb-weavers). Subfamily Micropholcommatinae (Micro Gondwanan Spiders). These spiders used to be in the family Micropholcommatidae, which was absorbed into the Anapidae family in 2016.
Size: Male body 1.5 mm, Female body 0. 8mm
Distribution: A CSIRO map shows the Eastern half of Australia, plus some have been found in WA so they probably live over much of Australia.
References: Framenau, Baehr & Zborowski.
This is the smallest spider I can remember seeing. The picture may not look that impressive, however the spider was about the size of a small grain of dirt. It was barely even recognisable as a spider to the unassisted eye, it looked more like a dot than a spider.
As of 2016, there are 8 species in the genus Micropholcomma. The genus was first described in 1927 by Crosby & Bishop. They are very small spiders (hence their name contains "micro"). There isn't much information about them compared to the larger more familiar spiders. The Australian lungless spider (Micropholcomma longissimum). There is still debate about how these tiny spiders should be classified.
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.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney.
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."
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