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Stephanopis obtusifrons

Fact Box
Species:
Sstephanopis obtusifrons
(W.J. Rainbow, but see notes below)
Family:
Thomisidae
Body length:
female: maybe 6 mm
male: 4.5 mm
Habitat:
This spider may be found on bark, leaves or flowers and uses its excellent camouflage colours to ambush insects it feeds on
Toxicity:
Unknown but this species is probably harmless to humans
Stephanopis obtusifrons
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Another specimen
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Another view
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Some characters
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Underneath male

In the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales (1902) Volume 27, pages 491-492 W.J. Rainbow described as Stephanopis obtusifrons a spider that matches well the one shown in the images above. In June 2017 the World Spider Catalog listed this species as accepted and not formally renamed in any more recent publication. In addition, the Atlas of Living Australia records that there are three S. obtusifrons specimens in museum collections and the two in the Australian Museum were found in 1967 just west of Bathurst, NSW which is not very far from the site where the spiders in the above photos were found. For these reasons the Stephanopis obtusifrons name has been used for the spider presented on theis page.

Unfortunately, this identification is problematical because the spider shown here appears very similar in appearance to the available images of Sidymella trapezia and also a spider found by S. McCaffrey and L. Gibson on Barrow Island, Western Australia, and presented by PaDil at http://www.padil.gov.au. as a Sidymella species. The reality is that the genera Sidymella and Stephanopis are closely related and it could be argued that they really should be combined into a single genus. This is particularly true for Stephanopis barbipes, the female of which looks more like a Sidymella species than a Stephanopis species.

A characteristic of Sidymella species is an abdomen that is shaped like an arrow head pointing toward the front part of the spider's body whereas on almost all Stephanopis species the abdomen lacks sharp points at its rear end and instead curves down towards the spinnerets. This is also the case for the spider presented above.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Sidymella trapezia.


Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 21 June 2017.