The Find-a-spider Guide
Created by Dr Ron Atkinson
Welcome to the Find-a-spider guide!
Have you found a spider but don't know what it is or whether or not it is dangerous to humans and domesticated animals? If so, this website may help you to identify it on the basis of what it looks like, how big it is, and where you found it. Current knowledge about the toxicity of each spider and some information relating to its natural history are also included wherever possible.
PLEASE NOTE: This website only contains information on spiders found in South-east Queensland although many of the species included have a much wider distribution throughout Australia and a few are also found in other countries. If you have a spider that was found elsewhere in the world this site could still be of some value to you since many Australian spiders are related to, and bear a close resemblance to, species that are found on other continents so the information presented here may help you track down the kind of spider you are dealing with even though that species is not actually included on this website.
But what if you have heard about a particular spider but don't know what it looks like or need to find out more about it? Well, this site also allows you to search for it using either its common name or its scientific name. There is also a page on the venoms of the more hazardous spiders found in Australia and another page with information about spider silk.
For most people the best way to use this website probably is to first read the frequently-asked questions (FAQ) section and the associated information pages then click on the Find-a-spider tab at the top of each page. From there you can search for a particular spider on the basis of its common and scientific names, the location/habitat in which you found it, the family it belongs to and the burrow, web or egg sac it builds. If you find these methods difficult to use you can simply go to a page that offers you galleries of spider photos that will in turn direct you to pages on particular spider species.
Note: Recent additions to the information section of this website are pages on the functions of major spider body systems, spider defences, the tendency of some spiders to exhibit social or colonial behaviour and the creatures that are close relatives of the spiders, such as the ticks, mites, and scorpions.
As a mark of respect for the work of Emeritus Professor Fred Rost (University of NSW) in photographing the spiders of Sydney, this website also has a
section that presents an overview of Fred's professional life and a gallery of his spider photos. His enthusiasm as a photographer
infected his wife, Sarah Cartmell, and for this reason the gallery also includes a selection of Sarah's spider photos. To view Fred Rost's page
Email Ron Atkinson for more information. Last updated 31 July, 2014.
* the University of Southern Queensland who hosted the the forerunner of this website over the period 2002-2009;
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the contents of this website are accurate, particularly in regard to the identity of individual spiders and the toxicity of their venoms to humans and domesticated animals. Unfortunately, much remains to be clarified about the taxonomy and toxicity of Australian spiders. For this reason, the author accepts no responsibility for any injury or damage to persons or property that might result from the application of information supplied at this website.
Copyright: The contents of this website (apart from those photos that display the photographer's name) remain the property of the author, Ron Atkinson. Those who visit the site are permitted to make copies of any image or piece of text they require PROVIDED the source of this material is acknowledged whenever it is published or made available to others, but PLEASE NOTE that any image that displays the name of the person who took it may NOT be copied since the copyright for it remains with the photographer.