INTRODUCTION: The Black House
(or window) spider is found in most of Australia including Tasmania and has been
introduced into New Zealand. It likes dry temperature and is more common inland.
The Scientific name for the Black House spider is Badumna Insignis. The
description of the Female is up to 18mm long and the Male is only 9mm. This
spider has a strong build and is coal - black or dark brown. They also often have
a row of faint white V's on their back. The head -(Thorax) is shiny black and the
eyes are in two rows of four. The Black House spider comes from the family Pesidae, it is a species of lace web-making spider.
HABITAT: The Black House Spider can be found in rock crevices on
loose tree bark, sheds, cracks in brick walls and in window corners. They
normally take up permanent residence in sheltered exterior corners of almost
any wooden or brick structure. A favourite site is the corner of a window,
the web radiating outwards. They can also found in cracks in fibro, rusting
corrugated iron, ventilators and other places commonly visited by
insects. In the natural bush land. The Black House Spider often builds its snare
in unhealthy trees. The web may appear tunnel like with one or more entrances.
They are "typical" colourless, lacy, tangled, shawl-like structures.
The web often has two or three funnel like entrances leading to a silky retreat
where the spider rests in the daytime. The Black House Spider use the rakes on
its hind legs to pull the silk from its spinning plate and spinnerets, When the
web is first made it has a bluish tingle. The web consists of a series of
radiating threads with zigzag threads crossing between them like the rungs of a
ladder and are usually heavily embroidered. The Black House Spider can be found
in dry areas throughout Australia and Tasmania.
PREY: Black House Spider a wide variety of insects, and other
spiders. If can be seen resting in a corner of it's snare or in the retreat
tunnel, with forelegs stretched out along the web. When the insect becomes
tangled in the web and struggles the spider receives the vibrations through
sensory hairs set in sockets on its forelegs. The spider grasps the threads of
the snare with its claws and tugs sharply at rapid intervals in a reflex action produced
by the female muscles. This tugging action entangles struggling insect, which is
swathed in silk, bitten, dragged into the funnel and consumed in safety. It may
eat the insect then or wrap it up with its silk thread for later.
BREEDING: A female Black House Spider wraps her eggs in a
flat white silk egg sac. She hides the sac in her web or near a nearby crevice.
The mother guards the sac until the spiderlings hatch. Each spiderling produces
milk thread's, which are caught by the wind and carry the young spiders away.
VENOM: The venom of the Black House Spider is poisonous
but not lethal, it can cause much harm to humans. Bites are rare and usually
occur when people attempt to move the web. The Black House Spider is not usually
aggressive and they will bite only if they are annoyed. The bite may cause
vomiting, nausea, heavy sweating, breathing problems, muscular pain, however
their symptoms are only temporary.
1. Australian Spiders in colour, Ramon Mascord, Chatswood
NSW, 2067, 1970
2. The Puffin Book of spiders, Helen Hunt, Australia, 1982
3. Australian Animals spiders, Greg Pyers, Victoria, 1999
4. Spider watch, Bert Brunet, Australia, 1996
5. Photo: Qld Museum
2 Photos above copyright: Dan Baldry
Photos of the black house spider
and pictures were taken from children's projects and where credited to that
child does not claim to be original information. Where possible, permission
to reproduce has been sought. Any infringement of copyright is purely
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