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Arachnids found across Sportsman Creek Conservation Area

Harmless orb-weaving spider which is nocturnal weaving a cart-wheel web at night which is consumed in the morning.

The newly published book “Bush Companion Fauna Species of the Clarence Valley and Northern Rivers, New South Wales” is available to purchase direct from the publisher.

This book contains over 310 “full colour plate” fauna species in 250 “perfect bound” pages with both common and scientific names.

Order by email at to reserve your copy.

Price $25 a copy plus postage from Sportsman Creek Press.

Bush Companion Cover

A bird eating spider sometimes known as Nephila pilipes. This specimen was found on the island in the Conservation Area and is sometimes seen as far south as Coffs Harbour. Primarily a tropical spider but occasionally found in rainforests of southern Queensland. Image taken of a large female spider  with a leg span of 15cm. These spiders are not aggressive and  non-venomous. A new species for the Conservation Area.

I.D. courtesy of Martyn Robinson. Naturalist. Australian Museum.

Wolf spiders are described as vagrant hunters who forage on the ground for prey. Although not aggressive their bite is painful and can cause local pain and swelling.

Reference; Honan P. Wild Australia Guide – Spiders

Further reference available

A member of the largest family of spiders in the world. With over 380 species in Australia alone these spiders are active during the day where they leap onto their prey from up to 10 cm away. They are not aggressive and do not bite.

Reference; Honan, P.  A Wild Australia Guide – Spiders. 
















I was recently pouring over the excellent book –  Voyages of Discovery A Visual Celebration of Ten of the Greatest Natural History Expeditions by Dr. Tony Rice. The chapter (Charting Australia 1801-1805  Mathew Flinders and Ferdinand Bauer) details some of  Bauer’s finest botanical illustrations from this voyage.

The reproduced plate (opposite) on page 221 amongst a few finely detailed sea creatures describes ” Also common in Australian waters was the spider crab, Gasteracantha mimax.” The description of this image appears to be incorrect as the plate also shows the completely black (melanic) specimens that also occur in both male and female Six-spined Spiders (Austracantha minax).

These tiny spiders are commonly found across Sportsman Creek wildlife refuge in the dry forests, grasslands and heath. “Also called the Jewel or Christmas spider. They capture insects by web and the egg sac is wrapped around a twig and then abandoned by the female. Found across all States and territories of Australia. Male body length 3-4mm. Female 8-10mm.”

Reference.  Honan, P.  A Wild Australia Guide- Spiders.

Image top left – Six-spined Spider on the wildlife refuge.

Images to right Bauer illustrations.

One of Australia’s most venomous spiders, if bitten seek medical attention immediately.

Image of a Comb-footed Spider, (Family; Theridiidae) often mistaken for the Red-back Spider. Found in the drier Open eucalypt Woodland on the wildlife refuge, favouring the bark of gum trees. Their bite is not dangerous and they do not build webs.

Reference and further reading:  Honan, P.     A Wild Australia Guide to Spiders.

Well camouflaged on tree branch is this common Marbled Scorpion. They eat insects and termites and are known for cannibalism. Stings can cause severe pain for several hours, although they seem to have no systemic effects.

Also known as the Horizontal Orb Spider and found throughout Australia. Usually building inclined or horizontal orb webs in moister forest areas on the wildlife refuge, sometimes close to water. These small 10mm  spiders have small fangs and are reluctant to bite. However bite symptoms may include mild local pain, swelling and nausea.

I.D. courtesy of  Ella Minton.  Interpretive Officer,  Australian Museum.

Further reading;