The Find-a-Spider Guide

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Cyrtophora hirta

Fact Box
Species:
Cyrtophora hirta (RM)
( Note: Cyrtophora parnasia has a very similar appearance)
Family:
Araneidae
formerly Argiopidae
Body length:
female: 10 mm
male: 5 mm
Habitat:
On a web with a central retreat shaped like an inverted cone with a lacy lower edge and suspended by a less uniform, tangled web
Toxicity:
Unknown but the venom of this spider may cause mild illness
Cyrtophora hirta
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Female and retreat
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In its retreat
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Female from above
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Underside of female
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Another female
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Its web and egg sac
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Male side view
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Male from above

The inverted cone-shaped tent which this spider uses as a retreat, a nursery, and a garbage dump, is distinctive. This species is common in eucalypt forests but also in suburban backyard gardens in south-east Queensland and where present at all is likely to be found as large numbers of individual webs quite close to each other. A curious characteristic of this species appears to be that in spring and early summer large numbers of small webs can be found but most of these are soon empty, presumably because the spiders fail to grow to adulthood or perhaps because they contained males which had gone off in search of a female to mate with.

The male is quite unlike the female in appearance but the fact that the ones shown on this page were photographed on the outside of a female's web is convincing evidence that they are indeed Cyrtophora hirta males since they clearly are males and the males of other kinds of spiders would never be attracted to a female C. hirta's web.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Some Araneus species.



Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 28 December 2018.