The Find-a-Spider Guide

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Cyrtophora hirta

Fact Box
Cyrtophora hirta (RM)
( Note: Cyrtophora parnasia has a very similar appearance)
formerly Argiopidae
Body length:
female: 10 mm
male: 5 mm
On a web with a central retreat shaped like an inverted cone with a lacy lower edge and suspended by a less uniform, tangled web
Unknown but the venom of this spider may cause mild illness
Cyrtophora hirta
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Female and retreat
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Its web and egg sac
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Female from above
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In its retreat
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Female from front
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Underside of female
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Another female

The cone-shaped tent which this spider uses as a retreat, a nursery, and a garbage dump, is distinctive. This species is most common in eucalypt forests and if present at all is likely to be found as large numbers of individual webs quite close to each other. A curious characteristic of this species appears to be that in spring and early summer large numbers of small webs can be found but most of these are soon empty, presumably because the spiders fail to grow to adulthood.

The male is quite unlike the female in appearance. Also noteworthy is the fact that adult webs usually have several small theridiid spiders (not necessarily all of the same species) scavenging around their edges.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Some Araneus and Eriophora species, as well as Acroaspis species.

Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 19 August 2010.