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'Stephanopis longimana'

Fact Box
'Stephanopis longimana'
(Identification as explained below)
Body length:
female: maybe 6 mm
male: 4.5 mm
This spider may be found on bark, leaves or flowers and uses its excellent camouflage colours to ambush insects it feeds on
Unknown but this species is probably harmless to humans
'Stephanopis longimana'
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Another specimen
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Another view
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Some characters
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Underneath male

The Stephanopis longimana name is shown in inverted commas on this page because it now seems likely that the scientific name of this species will soon be changed but there is uncertainty as to what the new name will be. In Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales (1902) Volume 27, pages 491-492 W.J. Rainbow described as Stephanopis obtusifrons a spider somewhat similar to the one shown in the images above. Unfortunately, his description of the spider was limited and he only included a very basic drawing of it in his paper. Then in his widely read 1970 and 1980 spider booklets Ramon Mascord presented an image labelled as Stephanopis obtusifrons, his identification based on that of Rainbow and on Stephanopis specimens he had seen in the Australian Museum collection. Images of specimens that looked much the same as the one in Mascord's booklets were subsequently published in various places, including this website, under the Stephanopis obtusifrons name.

But then in 2019 Machado M. et al in Records of the Australian Museum, 71, 217-276 suggested that Stephanopis obtusifrons is actually the same species as Stephanopis cambridgei, but the images of Stephanopis cambridgei included in that paper were not a close match with those of most of the published Stephanopis obtusifrons images, including the one shown in Mascord's books. It also became apparent that the spiders in the various published S. obtusifrons photos did not all look like the same species. In a follow-up paper (Machado M. and Teixeira R.A. (2020) Phylogenetic relationships in Stephanopis and Sidymella, (Springer Nature), Stephanopis longimana is further changed to Isala longimana, but this change must be considered tentative, at least until the genera Sidymella and Isala have been studied further. It should also be pointed out that the spider shown above looks more like a Sidymella species than Stephanopis cambridgei and the only known Isala species: Isala punctata.

Known range: Occasionally found in South-east Queensland and down the coast to Melbourne and across to Tasmania.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Some Sidymella and Stephanopis species.

Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 24 January 2022.