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Arachnids found across Sportsman Creek Conservation Area

One of the 260 species of  Orb-weavers in Australia. “This species is extremely variable in colour and pattern. They feed on a wide range of  flying insects at night and often after eating the web at dawn, retreat to foliage at the edge of the web. Bites are rare, causing only temporary symptoms and mild pain”. They are not an aggressive spider and found in many varieties from the open woodlands to creek surrounds on the wildlife refuge.

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

Further reading;

“This species builds small orb webs in colonies made up of many spiders covering a large area, with intertwining support threads. They feed on small insects and do not possess venom glands. They are distributed through N.S.W. and Victoria. Male body length 3mm, female 4-6mm . Humped spiders are well named; The hump of the abdomen is several times taller than the rest of the body”.

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

Found on Sportsman Cree wildlife refuge. Size about 10 mm in length. They have a concaved abdomen which enables them to wrap around twigs in camoflage mode. These spiders build a vertical nest at night.


“Also known as Zodaraiid ground spiders. These spiders live in association with a nest of ants of their prey species and can use “ant mimicry” to enter and leave nests unmolested. There are over 100 species of these spiders in Australia and are not known to bite. Found foraging on a Red Ash (Alphitonia excelsia) at Sportsman Creek wildlife refuge.

Reference;  Wikipedia.

” This spider has an orange-brown patterned body. “Jumping spiders have excellent vision and are active during the day, stalking prey around foliage and tree trunks. They do not build webs but leap onto prey from 10cm away or more. When leaping they leave behind a silken safety line attached to a leaf. These spiders are not known to bite”.

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

“Very little is known about these little spiders life history and biology. Triangular spiders spend most of their time motionless on foliage, waiting for passing prey”. They do not build webs but use their silk as safety lines, seizing their prey with strong barbed front legs. Capable of  biting but symptoms are not serious.

Reference;  Honan, P. Wild Australia Guide to Spiders.

An important life-threatening parasite of man and animals. In the human population health terms, tick envenomation is a greater medical risk for children than snake or spider bite. Humans face a small but serious risk of acquiring tick-borne infectious diseases especially Australian Spotted Fever and a Lyme-like disease. Clinical signs include (musculoskelatal, chronic fatigue, neurological and dermalogical) symptoms. These adult ticks are active  particularly throughout January and December across the wildlife refuge.

This arthropod is a living fossil record of Australia’s natural history. They were once part of Gondwana. This specimen found in rocks on the wildlife refuge has 20 pair of legs and can move quickly over the ground as a general predator. Centipedes are one of the largest invertebrate predators and often contribute a  significant proportion to invertebrate predatory biomass in terrestrial systems. Capable of delivering a painful sting.

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Their are 29 species of scorpion across Australia.This common species of Marbled Scorpion is found across the wildlife refuge. Found under loose bark, rocks and sometimes indoors where this specimen was found. They eat insects and termites and are known for cannibalism. While the sting causes severe pain for several hours, they seem to have no major systemic effect. Side effects include; numbness, nausea, headaches, and malaise. If bitten apply a cold pack.

“This spider has been introduced from overseas. It is often confused with the Red-backed Spider  and is also known as the Cupboard Spider. Usually brown to black, with a dull white crescent-shaped mark on top of the abdomen. The bite is not dangerous, but may temporarily cause headaches, nausea and small blisters around the bite”.

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

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By Jeff Keyes