The Find-a-Spider Guide

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Eastern mouse spider

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Missulena bradleyi (RM)
Body length:
female: 20 mm
male: 14 mm
In a well concealed burrow in open bush settings; the burrow is normally branched with two openings each closed by a door
The venom of the male contains a nerve poison which seems to be potentially as lethal to humans as that of the funnel-web spider, but fortunately mouse spiders are less aggressive than funnel-webs
Missulena bradleyi
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Male blue spot
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Preserved male
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Chelicerae close-up

The most important characteristics of the female of this species are the glossy black colour, the shortened cephalothorax with its very widely spread eyes, and the very large chelicerae and fangs. The male is smaller and has a pale blue patch on the upper front surface of its abdomen. Mostly, females are dug up by accident, but if the weather is wet males sometimes wander into houses during their breeding season, which in the Toowoomba region is autumn and early winter.

Note that there is evidence that the funnel-web antivenom is able to reverse the effects of M. bradleyi venom on humans.

Known Range: Recorded as being in virtually all Australian States but especially in Darwin and all parts of the Eastern Australian coast down to Melbourne.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Missulena occatoria and Missulena dipsaca.

Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 4 January 2022.