The Find-a-Spider Guide

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Jewel or spiny spider

Fact Box
Austracantha minax (JS)
Previous species name:
Gasteracantha minax
formerly Argiopidae
Body length:
female: 8 mm
male: 4 mm
This species builds a small circular web between shrubs. Sometimes this spider's web is very limited but this species is also said to form pseudo-colony webs when numbers are high. A. minax can be found anywhere on the web which it does not destroy at dawn as some other araneid species do.
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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Its egg sac
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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.

Known Range: Austracantha minax is found all over Australia and also in Tasmania.

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

Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 2 January 2022.