The Find-a-Spider Guide

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Jewel or spiny spider

Fact Box
Species:
Austracantha minax (JS)
Previous species name:
Gasteracantha minax
Family:
Araneidae
formerly Argiopidae
Body length:
female: 8 mm
male: 4 mm
Habitat:
This species builds a small circular web between shrubs. Although sometimes this spider's web is reduced to a few supporting strands, this species is also said to form pseudo-colony webs when numbers are hig; A. minax can be found anywhere on the web which it does not destroy at dawn as some other araneid species do.
Toxicity:
Uncertain but this spider may be too small to cause human illness and is not very aggressive anyway
Austracantha minax
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The male
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In its web
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A close-up view
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A melanic female
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Another female
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Underside of female
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Female from front
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Rear view

The ring of black spines around the abdomen and the distinctive yellow, white and black markings make this spider easy to identify. In some parts of Australia the common name for this species is the Christmas spider because it is most often noticed in December and January. However, with diligent searching it can be found from November to about May.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Gasteracantha quadrispinosa.


Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 19 January 2009.