The Find-a-Spider Guide

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Ligonipes species

Fact Box
Ligonipes species (QM)
(resembling Ligonipes semitectus but probably an undescribed species: see notes below)
Body length:
female: 3-5 mm
male: 2-4 mm
This ant mimic may be found on/under bark, on green leaves or in the vicinity of streams of ants
This species is probably too small to present a significant hazard to any human
Ligonipes species
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Another view
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Front view
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Its underside

The identity of this spider is in some doubt for several reasons. Firstly, the genera Ligonipes, Dmoetas and Rhombonotus are so similar that some taxonomists believe they should be included in a single genus, although the presently accepted Rhombonotus species are significantly smaller than the known Ligonipes species. Secondly, most of the specimens of these three genera presently stored in museum collections were found in Queensland and perhaps the upper part of NSW whereas the spider in the above photos was found in Melbourne. And finally, it is becoming clear that the species listed by the World Spider Catalog in 2017 are only a small portion of the total Ligonipes species present in Australia.

This species, though very small, is relatively easy to recognise to genus because of of the shape of its cephalothorax, its bilobed abdomen, and the strong brushes on the first pair of legs. The spider presumably uses this body shape as camouflage that helps it to ambush ants and other insects.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: While the appearance of this spider is distinctive, several other similar and closely related genera exist, including Rhombonotus gracilis and Myrmarachne erythrocephala.

Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 8 November 2017.