Spiders deserve a closer look.
Spiders are a varied group of arthropods. They range in size from being barely visible to as big as your hand. Some are smooth and some are hairy. And they can come in a wonderful array of colours.
Our most colourful spider would have to be the Christmas spider, Austracantha minax, pictured above. It has a body of black and white with orange to red legs and yellow spots on its underside. It adds to the spectacle with an array of spines and is readily visible during the day.
This is followed closely by the banded orb-weaver, Argiope trifasciata, pictured left. It has bands of black, white and yellow on its body with yellow to red bands on its legs. Its underside has a variety of yellow and white spots and splodges.
The largest spider we’ve seen in the bushland is a type of huntsman spider, pictured below. It has a body length of about 20 millimetres but a legspan much larger. We’ve only seen it at night so you’re unlikely to meet it during the day.
If you’re looking to be impressed during the day then you can’t go past the orb-weaving spider, Nephila edulis. You’ll not only be impressed by this spider’s size (body length up to 40 millimetres) but by its web, too. The web can span more than one metre and has a golden appearance in the right light. Plus, it keeps the remains of all of its meals as decoration in the web.
Then there are the spiders that use camouflage, like the bird dropping spider, Celaenia excavata, or the ant-mimicking spider, Myrmarachne sp. In fact, most of our spiders have some appealing feature so look a little bit more closely next time you see one. You’ll be amazed by what you will see.