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Australian Wildlife

  Mouse Spider (Missulena bradleyi)





Mouse Spider | Missulena bradleyi photo
Missulena bradleyi, Swifts Creek, Victoria

Image by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos - GNU Free Documentation License.    (view image details)



MOUSE SPIDER FACTS

Description
Female Mouse Spiders are all black and male spiders are black with a bluish-white patch on the front of their abdomen. Females are larger than males. The common name of the mouse spider arises from the mistaken belief that they dig a deep burrow like a mouse. Mouse spider fangs move in and out sideways, and not up and down like Funnel web spiders.

Size
Body length: male 15mm, Female 30mm

Habitat
Mouse spiders are burrowing spiders found in east coastal and highland regions of Australia. Burrows are often in the creek banks, and are sometimes found in suburban gardens. The burrow may have one or two trapdoors with an oval shaped entrance. Females remain in or near the burrow, while males may be found wandering during early winter, especially after rain.

Food
Mainly insects, but may eat small vertebrates such as frogs and lizards and other spiders.

Breeding
Males reach maturity at about 4 years of age. During the breeding season, males leave their burrows and go wandering to find a mate. Mating usually takes place in the female's burrow.

Notes
Mouse Spider venom is toxic, and a bite is potentially life threatening. However envenomings by this spider are rare. Funnel-web antivenom is an effective treatment for serious bites. Symptoms are similar to Funnel-web spider bites. The Mouse Spider is far less aggressive than the Sydney Funnel-web and when it bites, it may not inject venom.



Classification
Class:Arachnida
Order:Mygalomorphae
Family:Actinopodidae
Genus:Missulena
Species:bradleyi
Common Name:Mouse Spider

Relatives in same Genus
  Red-headed Mouse Spider (M. occatoria)