Scorpion Tailed Spider

Arachnura higginsi

Family: Araneidae  ID: Koch

Habitat and Biology
The tailed spider builds a permanent but incomplete orb web near the ground close to foliage. The web is suspended on an angle and has a V-shaped section missing from the top of the web. In late summer and autumn, the female produces a series of woolly yellowish egg sacs which she strings up in a line from the centre of the web to fill the missing section. The egg sacs are often camouflaged with debris and the spider sits at the bottom of the string in the centre of the web. The female spider can curl her tail up over her back like a scorpion if she is disturbed. The tip of the tail often has a number of black lobes which are soft and unable to sting or inflict any sort of wound. These spiders are widespread throughout Australia and are often found in large numbers near water.

Male: Similar to female but more reddish.
Female: Body various shades of brown but most commonly fawn, with a black tip on the end of the abdomen. Legs and cephalothorax may be darker brown. Juveniles may be yellow through to pink.

Small cephalothorax, body broad with a two horn like projections protruding over the cephalothorax then tapering into a tail with a black tip. When disturbed the spider curls its tail up over the body similar to a scorpion. It is unable to sting and is quite harmless. Male much smaller than female with no tail.

Body Length
Male: 2mm
Female: 15mm

Web type
Builds an inclined, incomplete orb web missing a V-shaped section at the top.

Bites by this spider are rare. Symptoms are minor and may include local pain and swelling.