Mouse Spider

Missulena bradleyi

Family: Actinopodidae  ID: Rainbow, 1914

Habitat and Biology
Like the trap-door spiders, the mouse spider lives in tunnels in the ground. Unlike the Stanwellia trap-door spiders, mouse spiders do possess a `trap-door' lid at the entrance. Males are most active during the daylight hours of the early winter, when they search for a mate. A close relative, Missulena occatoria Walckenaer, occurs in the drier western areas of Victoria and males of this species have a distinctive red cephalothorax and black abdomen. The spiderlings of the mouse spider apparently disperse on gossamer, a technique which is rare in mygalomorphs. The common name derives from the erroneous belief that this spider excavated a mouse-like burrow.

Male: Cephalothorax and legs glossy black, abdomen slightly paler with distinct pale bluish patch on upperside towards the front.
Female: Dark brown to blackish.

Recognised by the large cephalothorax, stout legs, and eye formation spread across the front of the cephalothorax instead of in a compact group as in trap-door spiders.

Body Length
Male: 15mm
Female: 25mm

Web type
Does not build a web.

Although some experimental evidence suggests the venom of mouse spiders is relatively toxic, most recorded bites have not produced serious reactions.