Remarks: These notes are a generalisation about trapdoor spiders. Different species may have different life histories.
Trapdoor spiders mature at about 5 years of age. At maturity, females place pheromones at the edge of the fan to attract a male. At maturity, the male leaves its burrow to search for a female. This is often done after rain to avoid the male dying from dehydration.
While the males search for females they are vulnerable to being eaten by other creatures in the bush. When the male finds a female he is at risk of being eaten by the female either before or after mating.
Females only need to mate once in their life as they can store sperm for future use. Female spiders lay eggs in the burrow every 1 to 2 years.
After hatching, babies stay in their mum’s burrow for up to 12 months. When dispersing, the babies go no more than 1 metre from mum. Once the babies have found a suitable site, they dig a burrow where they will live for the rest of their lives.
The burrow protects the spider from predators and provides a humid environment to prevent dehydration. The burrow is surrounded by a fan of debris that is attached to the web lining of the burrow. When an insect walks on the debris fan the spider comes out of the burrow and grabs a meal.
Spiders can go for a year without eating.
The spider never wanders further than the edge of its debris fan. As the spider grows it expands the size of its burrow. It doesn’t move out and find or build a bigger one.
The males only live until they reach maturity at 5 years.
Female spiders can live up to 20 years.
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