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'Phycosoma' oecobioides?

Fact Box
Species:
'Phycosoma' oecobioides?
(This identification is as suggested by Dr Helen Smith but see notes below)
Family:
Theridiidae
(Subfamily Hadrotarsinae)
Body length:
female: 1.5 mm
male: perhaps 1 mm
Habitat:
Little is known of the normal habitat of this species but it may spend at least some of its time in a very small tangled web under loose bark or in leaf litter
Toxicity:
Much too small to be capable of causing a significant human envenomation
'Phycosoma' oecobioides?
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Underneath female
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Male side view
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Male from above
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Patterned male

BM Fitzgerald and PJ Sirvid in a 2004 article in the New Zealand journal Tuhinga, 15, pages 7-12 wrote that they were aware of no members of the genus Phycosoma in Australia but they accepted that the New Zealand species, Phycosoma oecobioides, could easily be in Australia. Photos on a website by Marinov et al entitled "Key to Theridiidae spiders of biosecurity importance to New Zealand" are clearly of the same species as the one in the above photos, which are of a spider found in Eastern Australia. It is for this reason the oecobioides species name has been used here. The generic name is written 'Phycosoma' because the World Spider Catalog in July 2017 indicates that there are no Phycosoma species in Australia and older books have photos of the spider presented above as a Dipoena species.

A significant and confusing characteristic of this species is that the male and female look very different, the female having a cephalothorax that slopes upwards towards the eyes and the male having a 'squared off' cephalothorax with a pattern of deep grooves behind the head region. This latter pattern was what had previously caused taxonomists to consider this to be a Dipoena species.

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


Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 16 July 2017.