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White-tailed Spider

Scientific Name: Lampona cylindrata

Did You Know?

There is currently much conjecture regarding the effects of the bite from this spider. It has been linked with a spreading skin ulceration known as necrotic arachnidsm, which, as yet, has no easy cure. Current treatment involves a series of painful skin grafts in an attempt to halt the continued spread. At this stage it seems likely that this disease is caused, not by the venom of the spider, but by certain bacteria present on the spider's fangs at the time of the bite. If this is the case, it is also likely that several different types of spider may cause this painful skin problem, including white-tails, black house spiders and wolf spiders. It is also evident that such a condition does not always develop in the case of a bite from these spiders so it may depend greatly on the reaction of the bite victim with some individuals being highly susceptible because of an allergic reaction to the bacteria.

The white-tailed spider has a long cigar-shaped, dark grey abdomen with a creamy-white speck on the tip. The legs usually have a brownish hue. A large female may reach up to 20mm in body length, males around 12mm.

Habitat:

White-tailed spiders are found in cool dark areas such as under bark, leaf-litter, etc. It will readily utilise buildings and is common in private houses but is not often seen because the web is small and temporary and the spider is most active at night. They are slow moving spiders which wander great distances looking for prey.

Diet:

The white-tailed spider's main prey is other spiders. It is an active hunter, stalking the spiders while they are in their own webs. The black house spider in particular is a favorite food item.

Reproduction:

The female white-tail lays around 80-100 pink eggs in a silk sack and guards the 'nest' until the spiderlings emerge. On hatching, the little spiders disperse to find their first meal.

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