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Abracadabrella elegans

Fact Box
Abracadabrella elegans
(Marek Zabka)
See notes below for comments on the name and known range of this species
Body length:
female: 5 mm
male: 4.5 mm
On tree trunks, leaves and other surfaces
Unknown; probably too small to cause significant human illness
Abracadabrella elegans
Click to enlarge
Female from above
Click to enlarge
Female rear views

The name of the spider shown on this page is slightly in doubt in that it was found near a beach on the south coast of Victoria, whereas the known range of A. elegans is stated to be Queensland and the northern half of NSW, although this species has also been found near Darwin. There is a Central Australian Abracadabrella species as well as Abracadabrella lewiston, which has been found near Adelaide. However, neither of these alternative species are recorded for Victoria and the available photos/drawings of them are not nearly as good a match for the spider presented on this page as are those for A. elegans. It must therefore be concluded that the range of this species is much greater than was originally believed to be the case.

This species is easily recognised by the pair of large black 'false' eyes at the rear of its abdomen. It is presumed that these false eyes are intended to confuse predators or prey as to the direction in which the spider is facing. Some people have even suggested this is a fly mimic since the false eyes closely resemble the eyes of some fly species, but of course this would only make the spider more attractive to any predator that feeds on flies. Another interesting behavioural characteristic of Abracadabrella elegans is its strong tendency to change direction and even to walk backwards, these actions surely helping to confuse predators.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Only other Abracadabrella species.

Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 4 February 2017.