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Australian Wildlife

  White-tailed spider (Lampona cylindrata)





White-tailed spider | Lampona cylindrata photo
Australian White-Tailed Spider, Sydney

Image by Chylld - GNU Free Documentation License.    (view image details)



WHITE-TAILED SPIDER FACTS

Description
The White-tailed spider is a medium sized spider with long cigar-shaped dark grey abdomen. The abdomen is grey with two pairs of faint white spots and a distinct white or cream spot at the tip of the abdomen just above the spinnerets. The legs are brown or reddish brown in colour. They are slow moving spiders and travel great distances looking for prey.

Size
Body length: male 12mm, female 20mm

Habitat
White-tailed spiders inhabit cool dark areas under bark and leaf-litter. They often come into houses but are not often seen because the spider is most active at night. They are sometimes found in the folds of clothes, towels and shoes.

Food
White-tailed spiders are hunters who seek out prey rather than catching in a web. They prey on other spiders which they kill while they are in their own webs. The black house spider is a common food item.

Breeding
The female white-tailed spider lays about 80-100 pink eggs in a flattened silk egg sac. She guards the egg sac until the spiderlings emerge. On hatching, the spiderlings are left to disperse to find their first meal.

Range
found in south-east Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia, and introduced to New Zealand

Notes
Bite symptoms include local pain, red mark, local swelling and itchiness, sometimes nausea, vomiting, or headache may occur. The bite from these has been linked with spreading skin ulcers and necrosis which has no easy cure yet. Current treatment involves skin grafts to halt the spread of the necrosis. It is thought that the disease is caused by bacteria present on the spider's fangs rather than the venom itself. A study of 130 white-tailed spider bites in 2003 found no necrotic ulcers or confirmed infections. (Of the 130 cases more than 60% of the victims had been bitten by spiders that had wandered into clothing, towels or bedding).



Classification
Class:Arachnida
Order:Araneomorphae
Family:Lamponidae
Genus:Lampona
Species:cylindrata
Common Name:White-tailed spider