White Tailed Spider
Family: Lamponidae (White-Tailed Spiders, 200 described species in 23 genera, mostly endemic to Australia)
Size: Body up to 18 mm, leg span up to 28 mm.
Distribution: White-tailed spiders are spiders native to southern and eastern Australia.
Danger: I'm pretty sure I was bitten by a while-tailed spider once. I found one in my bed, and at that time I had a large welt on my leg, kind of like a mosquito bite but about 1 inch (2.5 centimetres) across, and much more itchy than a mosquito bite. I forget exactly how long it stayed there, I think about 1-2 weeks. I was living in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney at the time.
Many sources state that the urban myth of white-tailed spiders rotting flesh is just a myth and has never been substantiated. A video at the Australian Museum talked about several cases where roting flesh and other very nasty symptoms that were originally blamed on white-tailed spiders were later found to be something else entirely, likea golden staph infection for example.
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. High Resolution 3232 x 2040.
Spiders: 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."
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