An 11-day expedition through Australia’s alpine region has so far uncovered three new spider species, including a warrior huntsman with a shield on its chest.
Only two species in the group were previously described, and including one species described in South Australia, it brings the tally up to 17.
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
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.
Genetic tools reveal African origins of this Australian spider.
The public was asked to name the spider according to its most distinct attributes.
Extraordinary close-up footage of an Australian huntsman eating another spider.
Do you like pâté? You might want to try baking or roasting the golden orb-weaving spider.