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Huntsman

Huntsman spiders are those long-legged spiders we often surprise crawling around our ceilings at night. They are part of the "modern" spider species which breathe through trachea as well as through "book-lungs". They also have chelicerae which close side to side. The legs of a huntsman spider fan out sideways and the joints bend forwards. This means these spiders can run sideways as well as forwards - useful under bark and among stones.

 

Huntsman spiders originally lived in woodlands and forests but today they take up residence on the walls of houses, hunting insects at night. If threatened, a huntsman spider will "play dead", to avoid danger. Groups of huntsman may be found huddled together in a family group, under flaking bark or rocks.

 

Huntsman spiders moult and often their old skin may be mistaken for the original spider when seen clinging to bark or in the house.

Male and female huntsman have a lengthy courtship, which involves mutual caresses. The male is rarely attacked, unlike some other species. A female huntsman places her egg sac under bark or a rock, then stands guard over it. She tears the egg sac open to help the spiderlings emerge and stays with them for several weeks.

For more great pictures of Australian Huntsman Spiders, visit Ed Nieuwenhuys' Page.

 

 

Pictures and some information adapted from Steve Parish's wonderful publication:
"Amazing Facts About Australian Insects and Spiders"
Available at all good bookstores.

Information 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 unintentional.

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