The Find-a-Spider Guide

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Hickmania troglodytes

NOTE: THIS SPIDER IS NOT A SPECIES KNOWN TO BE PRESENT IN SOUTH QUEENSLAND. IT IS INCLUDED ON THIS WEBSITE ONLY BECAUSE IT IS THE SOLE AUSTRALIAN REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNUSUAL SPIDER FAMILY, THE AUSTROCHILIDAE

Fact Box
Species:
Hickmania troglodytes (QM)
Family:
Austrochilidae
Body length:
female: about 20 mm
male: about 13 mm
Habitat:
This spider is recorded only for Tasmania, where it is mostly found in caves, although it will sometimes build its web under bridges and in large crevices in logs and tree stumps. The web can be more than a metre long and is suspended horizontally
Toxicity:
The toxicity of the venom of this spider is unknown, perhaps because few humans ever come in contact with this species
Hickmania troglodytes
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View from front

Characteristics of this species include its relatively large size and its long, slender legs, which have a span of about 180 mm when fully extended. There is a distinct kink near the end of the second pair of legs on the males, this apparently serving to ward off an attack by the female during the rather long mating process. An undivided cribellum is present in front of the spinnerets but there is little evidence of a matching calamistrum on the fourth pair of legs.

Hickmania makes a large, white, pear-shaped egg sac which is suspended on the end of a thin strand of silk. This egg sac may be bare or protected by a covering of small pieces of wood or leaf debris.

Hickania troglodytes is only found in Tasmania but there are a small number of related austrochilid species recorded for parts of South America. It is found widely throughout Tasmania and is often in surprisingly large numbers when present at all. Another unusual characteristic is that it is believed to be capable of living for several decades, an ability mostly confined to some of the mygalomorph species.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: None.


Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 29 March 2010.