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Better than a dog!

September 21, 2021
by

The Huntsman Spider is one of the largest and quickest spiders in Australia. Some people may be disappointed to know that there are in fact many species of Huntsman Spider.

One of the most common, pictured left, is the Social Huntsman (Delena cancerides), the latter word derived from the Greek for ‘crab-like’, a description of the sideways walk it sometimes displays. This spider is very flat allowing it in nature to live under the bark of trees, often in groups of up to 300. In the house it can neatly slip into any crevice.

The Badge Huntsman (Neosparassus diana) is smaller but thicker than its Social counterpart. The young are born green but as they mature become brown to orange in colour (pictured right). The name is derived from the distinctive ‘badge’ marking on the underside of the abdomen (pictured below), easily seen if you can ‘coax’ the spider to walk on glass. The marking is displayed aggressively to deter possible predators, a feature known as aposematic colouration.

Like all Huntsmans, Badge Huntsmans have two rows of four evenly spaced eyes, the two outer eyes on the lowest row being the largest. The Badge Huntsman is distinguished by a patch of white hairs between the two rows that look like eyebrows (pictured below).

This is the time of the year when female Badge Huntsmans are out looking for mates, subsequently laying eggs in a silken cocoon held in a nest of grass held loosely together by silk threads.

At the moment I share my kitchen with a Badge Huntsman. Smaller than a dog it looks after its own feeding requirements and since it hasn’t shown me ‘the badge’ I am assuming it is happy with the arrangement. In covid times, a welcome companion.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Peter Mitchell permalink
    September 21, 2021 10:27 am

    Hi Ron,
    And of course you talk to it/him/her.

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