Christmas Spider

Christmas Spider, AustraliaThe Christmas Spider is also known as the Spiny or Jewel Spider and it belongs to the Family Araneidae. There are several species of these oddly shaped spiders found in Australia. They are often referred to as the Christmas Spider because they usually appear in the summer months leading up to Christmas.


The main features of this spider are the six spines which project from its heavily armoured back and the coloured markings on its broad abdomen. The markings are made up of bright yellow and white patterns on a black background. They are very timid spiders and will usually retreat to the safety of a plant if they hear you coming. One major charastic that sets the Christmas Spider apart from other Spiny spiders it is social and often builds large communal webs shared by many spiders (sometimes up to 1,000).


Vertical Orb Web

Christmas Spider, AustraliaThe Spiny spiders build large, vertical orb webs that are usually between 1-2m above the ground and are located in shrubby bushland near creeks and swamps.There are usually 20-30 spokes radiating out from the central hub.  The spider will sit in the centre of its web all day and night waiting for its prey, which consists of flying insects. A distinctive feature of their webs are the fluffy balls of silk that are often scattered over the surface of the anchor threads. The rest of the orb web is virtually invisible and it is believed the purpose of the white dots on the anchor threads are to alert animals and humans of the web, so they will avoid walking through and destroying it. Unfortunately for humans it is often too late spotting the web as they are often only knee high. 

Food and Predators

The Christmas Spider lives mainly on flying insects which get trapped in their webs. Predators are few and far between, one look at their armour intensive body would be enough to scare any predator away.

Friend or Foe ?

The Spiny Spiders are harmless to humans but they sure can give them a scare.

Facts About Christmas Spiders