Strange spider

Asked June 3, 2020, 3:09 PM EDT

Can you tell me which spider this is? We met it in a hotel room at the airport of Perth/West Australia Size about 2 cm

Outside United States

2 Responses

Thank you for your question. Your photos show the underside of the spider, and it's important to be able to view the top side of the spider as well. I am sending your photos to an expert on Australian spiders to see if he can identify it.

I will be back in touch as soon as I hear from him. Thank you for your patience.

Jim

Hello again. I sent your photos to Dr. Greg Anderson,one of the authors of the book, A Field Guide To Spiders Of Australia. He said the spider in your photos is one of the wolf spiders in the family Lycosidae. Because your photos only show the underside of the spider, he cannot provide any additional information. However, even if the dorsal surface was visible, he may not have been able to identify the species. Wolf spiders can be very difficult to identify based solely on a photo. You usually need to examine the specimen under a microscope to make a positive identification.

In Australia there are approximately 9 genera and 130 described species of wolf spider. Wolf spiders are some of the largest spiders. They are generally ground-dwelling species. They can be found living in leaf litter and some species actually excavate burrows.

They are active hunters and rush out to capture passing prey by grabbing them with their strong legs and chelicerae (fangs). Some species can actually capture small frogs, even young Cane toads, and reptiles.

Wolf spider females are well known for carrying their egg sac in their spinnerets. When the eggs hatch, the spiderlings climb up on the females back where they live for several days or, sometimes, weeks before dispersing.

Like most spiders, the wolf spiders are venomous, but they are not generally regarded as significant hazards to human health. Bites have been recorded with the worst symptoms being acute pain for ten minutes to an hour, local swelling, redness and itching. Additional symptoms reported include dizziness, rapid pulse and nausea.

Here are some links to websites that feature Australian wolf spiders:

https://ednieuw.home.xs4all.nl/australian/Lycosidae/Lycosidae.html

http://www.lycosidae.info/identification/australia/firstpage.html

Here is the information on the field guide I cited above:

Whyte, Robert and Anderson, Greg. (2017). A Field Guide To Spiders of Australia. Clayton, South Victoria: CSIRO Publishing.

I hope this information helps, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim