Australian Spiders


There are two main groups of spiders in Australia, the mygalomorphs and the araneomorphs. The mygalomorphs are often referred to as "ancient" or "primitive" spiders as they represent the earliest known spiders. Generally these spiders are large, hairy and live in the ground. The main characteristics of "ancient" spiders are they breathe through two pairs of abdominal pouches (book- lungs), have two pairs of spinnerets (silk producing organs) and they have chelicerae (jaws) that strike downwards like a pick-axe. These spiders are also known to be nocturnal and live in burrows in the ground. The Trapdoor and the Funnel-web spiders are examples of the spiders which belong to this group.


The araneomorphs are often referred to as the "modern" or "true" spiders. The main characteristics of a "modern" spider is that they breathe through one pair of book-lungs as well as a separate breathing system (through tracheal tubes), their chelicerae (jaws) works side to side (inwards) like pincers, they mainly use silk to snare their prey and they have three pairs of spinnerets (silk producing organs). The Huntsmen ,Wolf and Jumping spiders all belong to this group.