The Find-a-Spider Guide

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Pelican spider

Fact Box
Species:
Austrarchaea raveni (see below)
Family:
Archaeidae
Body length:
female: 3 mm
male: 3 mm
Habitat:
This rainforest species lives in moss or damp leaf litter
Toxicity:
Probably harmless to humans
Austrarchaea raveni

The identity of this spider is derived from the following paper: Rix MG and Harvey MS (2011) "Australian Assassins, Part 1: a review of the Assassin Spiders (Araneae, Archaeidae) of mid-eastern Australia" ZooKeys, 123, 1-100. The authors of this paper emphasize that the many named Australian Austrarchaea species are very difficult to distinguish from each other by their external appearance and that mitochondiral DNA analysis as well as the locality in which a particular specimen was found are more useful for correctly determining individual species names.

Note the distinctive long 'neck' and vertical chelicerae this spider has, these resembling those of a pelican. The three pairs of projections on the upper surface of the abdomen are also of taxonomic value.

This small spider has sometimes been seen to hang inverted from a silken thread and to catch insects by 'spearing' them with its long chelicerae.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: None.


Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 14 March 2013.