Redback spiders (Latrodectus hasselti) belong to the Family Theridiidae, which is found worldwide. The notorious Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus sp) of the United States is a close relative of the Redback Spider, and only differs in appearance by the absence of a red dorsal stripe.The Redback is found in all parts of Australia except in the hottest deserts and on the coldest mountains. It is the only dangerous spider with an Australia-wide distribution. Redbacks are very common in Summer. The female Red-back has a spherical satin-black abdomen with an orange-red stripe.
The abdomen is usually about 1 cm in diameter. Eight long delicate legs arise from the tiny front segment of the body. The male is only about one-third the size of the female and is considered harmless to humans because his fangs are so small. The male’s markings are not as bright as the female. It is usually easy to identify a female Redback although her stripe may be orange, pink or even light grey. The female often eats the male after mating.
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