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Tube trapdoor

Fact Box
Arbanitis species (QM)
(For the changed identity of this spider, which was formerly a Misgolas species, see below)
formerly Ctenizidae
Body length:
female: 27 mm
male: 23 mm
The entrance to the burrow species lives in is a paper-like tube horizontal to the ground
Possibly somewhat toxic
Arbanitis species
Click to enlarge
The female
Click to enlarge
Short spinnerets
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Burrow entrance
Click to enlarge
The male

The correct species name for this spider is uncertain. It was previously considered to be a Dyarcyops species then Misgolas pulchellus but Raven and Wishart have stated that the species once called M. pulchellus is synonymous with Arbanitis longipes, a spider found in the Greater Brisbane region of South-east Queensland east of the Darling Downs. These authors described only three Misgolas species, all from coastal South Queensland and the Lamington Plateau, but the spider shown in the above photos matches none of them, was found just south of Toowoomba on the Darling Downs, and was excavated from a burrow very different to that described for any of the three named Misgolas spceies.

However, in an earlier paper Wishart described a number of NSW Misgolas species and his drawings of one of them, Misgolas dereki, are a very good match for the Toowoomba Arbanitis species shown above. In addition, Wishart noted that the burrow was a horizontal tube very similar to that used by the Toowoomba spider. It is therefore tempting to label the spider on this page as Arbanitis dereki but according to Wishart the range of that species is a coastal region from Kiama down to the Victorian border so it seems improbable that the Toowoomba spider is the same species. Hence, this spider must be left without a species name until this situation is clarified.

To add to the above confusion, early in 2017 the journal Invertebrate Systematics indicated that they had just accepted a revision paper by M. Rix et al entitled "The Australasian spiny trapdoor spiders of the family Idiopidae (Mygalomorphae: Arbanitinae): a relimitation and revision at the generic level" in which the authors say Misgolas should now be considered to be a junior synonym for the genus Arbanitis. It has also been suggested the spider presented above is actually Arbanitis longipes but the fact that A. longipes brrow entrances do not have the almost horizontal tube-like extension above ground that this species builds makes that suggestion a dubious one.

Known Range: This species is very common in open grassed areas on the Darling Downs and especially around Toowoomba.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Arbanitis longipes, Euoplos grandis and some Namea and Aname species.

Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 5 January 2022.