There are at least 2 species of spiders with the common name Magnificent spider. The Bolas spider is one of them. The female is 12 mm long while the male is 2 mm. The Magnificent spider is also known as the Angler spider.
This spider is part of a family (the Mastophoreae) within the orb-weaving spider family (Araneidae) that no longer build an orb web, but instead attract their prey of male moths by chemical mimicry.
The Odgarius Magnificus is found in N.S.W., Qld, Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria. At daytime, it retreats to a home made of leaves bound together with silk. They live in the foliage of native trees and shrubs such as eucalyptus, which are usually a few metres from the ground. The Magnificent spider has adapted well to urban situations.
The female measures up to 14mm long (25mm when pregnant) and the male is hardly able to be seen at a mere 1.5-2mm. The species is basically white, except for its abdomen which has two small, bright nodules and numerous tiny salmon coloured star-shaped patterns. The body and limbs are covered with lots of fine hairs that are particularly long on its forelegs.
The female Magnificent Spider has a special scent to attract male moths. Once the Moth is within “fishing range” it throws the sticky thread. The bolas is a sticky ball of glue and silk attached to the end of the silk thread.
The Magnificent orb weaver produces about 6-7 long papery egg sacs. The egg sacs will always be near the female. These take around 3 months to hatch. When they hatch, the female never leaves her young alone. Even at hunting time.
There has been no bites recorded from this spider. Generally, orb weavers are harmless for humans and pets.
Spider watch: A guide to Australian spiders, by Bert Brunet.
The Puffin Book of Australian spiders, by Helen Hunt.
Google: Australian spiders
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