Friday, September 17, 2010

He May Look Innocent

When I saw this little guy on the trail I didn't think much of him. It turns out that he is a very toxic little guy.  The Mouse Spider, indigenous to Australia, can be found throughout the continent except in the southern rain forest of Tasmania.
Mouse Spiders are distinguished by the stocky body, long leg-like palps and two knee-like lobes which the fags join in front. The male has a vibrant red head. The spiders measure 1 cm to 3 cm in length so they are not very large, but they can be aggressive. If angered or threatened they will rush backward and forward. During their rushing movement they will open and close their fangs which permits venom to escape. Fortunately, envenoming by this species of spiders are rare.
The home of the Mouse Spider is a burrow, of moderate depth and straight down. Female spiders spend all of their lives in the burrow. 
Mouse Spiders prey mainly on insects, though they can consume small animals. Their primary predators include wasps, bandicoots, centipedes and scorpions. 

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