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webs and egg sacs
Tree trapdoor spider
(The proposed identification of this spider is as explained below)
female: 8 mm|
male: 5 mm
In a small burrow in tree ferns
The toxicity of the venom of this spider is unknown so handle this spider cautiously, although it is a relatively small mygalomorph species.
The identity of the spider shown on this page, which was actually found on an island just north-east of Tasmania, is based on a matching image
presented by John Douglas on his Tasmanian Spiders website. In February 2019 the World Spider Catalog
listed only Heteromigas dovei, Migas nitens and Migas plomleyi as being described Tasmanian migid species and on this basis the spider above
is one of the latter two species, but it is likely many Australian migids are still undescribed. The World Spider Catalog listed Moggridgea rainbowi as the
only Australian member of this genus (and exclusive to Kangaroo Island) plus several Western Australian Bertmainius species which may originally have been recognized
as Moggridgea species. Finally, Heteromigas terraereginae
was shown as a Queensland migid and Migas variapalpus as a South-east Queensland species. Therefore, since the empty burrow in an image shown on this page was found near
Toowoomba, Queensland, it seems likely to have been constructed by Migas variabilis.
The most important characteristics of a Migas species are the reasonably glossy black colour, the short spinnerets
and the downwards-pointing spines on the first two pairs of legs. The Migidae typically build shallow burrows either in the ground (preferably on steep, mossy soil banks)
or under the bark of tree trunks. A hinged door similar to that of the Idiopidae (the true trapdoor spiders) allows the burrow to be closed and the spider typically waits
just under the door for the approach of potential prey. Those species that have
their burrows on tree trunks are often referred to as tree trapdoor spiders and their door is always hinged on the lower side of the burrow.
Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Some members of the Heteropodidae, Nemesiidae and Idiopidae.
Email Ron Atkinson for more information.
Last updated 16 February 2019.