The common name of the mouse spider is derived from the mistaken belief that this spider excavates a deep mouse-like burrow. Females are black overall and are larger than the males. The males are black with a bluish-white patch on the front of their abdomen. Mouse spiders are a “modern” spider species because their fangs move in and out sideways rather than the straight up and down movement in other spiders like the funnel web. There are currently 8 described species of mouse spider.
Mouse spiders are found in east coastal and highland regions of Australia. Like trapdoor spiders, the mouse spider lives in burrows in the ground, often in the banks of rivers, creeks and other waterways, but is also found in suburban gardens. The burrows are built with double or single trapdoors and the entrance is oval shaped. The females tend to remain in or near their burrows throughout their lives. Males can be found wandering during early winter, especially after rain.
Insects are the main prey of mouse spiders, but their diet could possibly include small vertebrates and other spiders.
Males reach sexually maturity at about 4 years of age. They leave their burrows during the breeding season to find a mate. They go looking for a female during the day and the mating usually takes place in the female’s burrow.