Spiders belong to an insect class called Arachnida. They have 8 jointed legs and their bodies are divided into 2 sections: cephalothoraxes and abdomen. The head and thorax are fused to form the cephalothoraxes. Palps are located in the front. These are often mistaken for another pair of legs. The function of these palps is sensory but in the male they are also used for reproduction. The legs and body of a spider may be clothed with hairs.

In determining the sex of spiders, the difference in size between adult males and females is usually enough to determine the sex. The male is usually smaller than the female of the same species. The male’s legs are longer than the females’ to make for easier reproduction. Most spiders have 3 or 4 pairs of eyes situated on the sides and top of the cephalothoraxes, although some have only 1 or 2 pairs.

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REDBACK SPIDER

REDBACK SPIDER

Long thin legs, a large bulbous abdomen and a small cephalothoraxes are trademarks of this dangerous spider. Females are usually 12-15mm in length. Males are about 3-4mm in length. The redback spider has black velvet-like colouring with a well defined red stripe on its dorsal surface. It is not an aggressive spider but their bites are very toxic and painful. When bitten by a redback spider, you should go to the doctor or the emergency room immediately.

WHITETAILED SPIDER

WHITETAILED SPIDER

This spider has a cigar-like shaped body that is grey to black in colour. It has a prominent white mark on the end of its abdomen. The female whitetail spider is about 12-15mm in length while the males are generally 5-8mm in length. Their bites cause local pain and blistering and also tissue necrosis, so after a bite from one of these spiders, you need to see a doctor.

FUNNEL WEB

FUNNEL WEB

The male Sydney funnel web spider is considered the most dangerous spider in the world. It is usually identified by its covering of black, fine reddish hairs over its body, shiny cephalothoraxes and its spinnerets that are quite long. The female is about 30mm in length and the male smaller at only 25mm in length. They are an extremely aggressive spider and their bites are very toxic, so after a bite from one of these spiders you should get to the doctor immediately.

HUNTSMAN

HUNTSMAN

This large, flattened, hairy spider looks scarier than it actually is. Its first 2 pairs of legs are longer than its rear legs. Their colourings are usually dark, patch-like looking on the cephalothoraxes and abdomen. Females are usually 35-40mm in length and the males 15-25mm. Their bites aren’t toxic but they are quite painful.

BLACK HOUSE SPIDER

BLACK HOUSE SPIDER

This spider has a large abdomen. Its fangs are not obvious but move pincer wise. They are small spiders with the females usually 15-18mm in length. The males are only 8-10mm in length. They are mainly dark brown in colour and their legs are often black. They are a non-aggressive spider but their bites are toxic and produces pain, nausea and sweating.

GARDEN ORB WEAVING SPIDER

GARDEN ORB WEAVING SPIDER

These spiders are light to dark brown in colour with a distinct pattern on the body. The female is about 20-25mm in length whilst the male is a tiny 5-10mm in length. They are considered not to be aggressive and their bite is not toxic.