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Australian Wildlife

  Red-headed Mouse Spider (Missulena occatoria)





Red-headed Mouse Spider | Missulena occatoria photo
male Mouse Spider (Missulena occatoria) in w:Para Wirra Recreation Park, South Australia

Image by Peripitus - Some rights reserved.    (view image details)



SPIDER FACTS

Description
The female Red-headed Mouse Spider is lack with a red tinge. Males have a bright red head and jaws, and blue black abdomen. Mouse spiders are closely related to trapdoor and funnel-web spiders but have a more squat shape and large fang sheaths at the front of the head. The Red-headed Mouse Spider is widely distributed as the spiderlings are wind-dispersed by ballooning. The spiders dig a burrow up to 55cm deep, with two trapdoors.

Size
Body length: male 12mm, Female 24mm

Habitat
Found in various habitats from open forests to desert shrublands. Mouse spiders live in oval burrows up to a metre long. The burrow is often in the bank of a water course. The burrow usually has a hinged lid. These spiders are fairly common but are rarely seen. Sometimes they are forced out of their burrows after heavy rain.

Food
Most insects. Mouse spiders have large strong fangs and can capture fairly large insects.

Breeding
Female mouse spiders spend most of their life in their burrow. Male mouse spiders reach maturity at around four years of age and set out in search for a mate. Mating usually takes place in the female's burrow. The female produces an egg sac and seals it in a special side chamber in her burrow.

Range
found throughout Australia,

Notes
The venom is very toxic and a bite from a Mouse Spider can be potentially life threatening. Seek medical attention immediately id bitten. No human deaths have been recorded, though.



Classification
Class:Arachnida
Order:Mygalomorphae
Family:Actinopodidae
Genus:Missulena
Species:occatoria
Common Name:Red-headed Mouse Spider

Relatives in same Genus
  Mouse Spider (M. bradleyi)