spider

Prehistoric predators: mygalomorphs

Wildlife

Mygalomorphs are an ancient group of spiders that have remained almost unchanged for millions of years. Unlike modern spiders, which have pincer-like biting apparatus, mygalomorphs have dagger-like fangs that they thrust downwards in a ‘pick-axe’ motion. Here we show a representative species from each of the major mygalomorph families found in Australia. Text and photographs by Nick Volpe

Gallery: tiny, beautiful peacock spiders

Wildlife

Australia’s peacock spiders are the most attractive of the world’s more than 5000 species of jumping spider. At a tiny 4–6mm long, they stand out because of their small size, their relatively large eyes and, of course, the male’s dazzling opisthosomal fan. This is a flap on the abdomen covered in bright iridescent scales, which makes it appear similar to a butterfly wing. Here, seasoned spider photographer Jurgen Otto, who’s responsible for finding and recording many of Australia’s peacock spiders, captures their beauty.