Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Shield Spider / Badge Huntsman

.....Neosparassus diana (Koch, 1875)

This spider of the Sparassidae family is known as the Shield spider or Badge Hunstman. It hunts at night, usually on tree trunks and among foliage. By day it will be hidden away under some loose bark or even under stones. It has been known to occasionally come into houses. The one photographed below was certainly trying to come into my house as it was found on the back screen door. Fortunately it couldn't figure out how to pull the handle :-)

These spiders are fairly widespread in Tasmania and also occur on the mainland. The colour can range from yellowish brown to orange. The female's body length can be up to 22mm and the male 17mm. It has two straight rows of eyes with the eyes at the back being smaller. Between the two rows of eyes are some yellowish white hairs which to me gives the appearance of eye brows.

Another identifying feature is the 'badge' on the ventral surface of the abdomen. While this badge can vary a bit, it basically consists of a black area with two white spots. As I did not fancy holding the spider on it's back while taking it's photo, I have instead drawn a rough picture of the 'badge' which I have included below.

At this time of year (Sep/Oct) the female will make a nest by joining together some leaves or grass and within this she makes her egg-sac.


(Click on Photos to Enlarge)

Shield Spider - Neosparassus diana


Ventral view of abdomen showing the 'shield' or 'badge'


8 comments:

  1. I really like the Neosparassids, although they can inflict a painful bite! :-)

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  2. Nice one Mosura. Never seen anything like it. Not all that well camouflaged you'd think.
    Gouldiae.

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  3. Great photo of a beaut spider Mosura.

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  4. Thanks JL, Gouldiae, and Duncan - Yes it's a beauty but I still shudder at them :-)

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  5. Hi Mosura
    It seems to be the season for Spiders, at present. Everybody has been coming across them.
    Last year I found one of a related species just shedding its exoskeleton. I had to wait after the moult to "set" its fresh shell, so I got a few shots. That one was brightly coloured underneath, with bright blue joints in the legs. Green abdomen above.
    Yours looks very bright too. I have never seen a Huntsman that looked like that. I would have bolted the door, myself. But that is only delaying the inevitable. It is amazing the small spaces they can squeeze through.
    Cheers
    Denis

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  6. Children trapped one last week attempting to get in. Very pretty markings. Thanks for your photo and drawing of the 'badge'. Helped me be sure of the i.d.

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  7. Found one of these on our back door last night, I haven't seen one before so I had to take a quick snap - got quite a reasonable pic of the "shield" underneath. The random dots on the image are just dust on the window - yes I took the image with me on one side and the spider on the other.

    Thank you for helping me identify him/her.

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  8. Thanks Gary - That's a terrific photo. I enjoyed your waterfall photos too.

    Thanks everyone else who commented last year. For some reason I seem not to have replied at the time. Sorry about that.

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