The Find-a-Spider Guide

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Fact Box
Latrodectus hasselti (QM)
Previous species name:
Latrodectus mactans hasselti
Body length:
female: 12 mm
male: 3 mm
Redback spiders build untidy, tangled webs under ledges and in garden shrubs usually close to the ground. Much of the time the females are in a retreat of dead leaves bound with silk and there may be several round egg sacs nearby
The venom of the female of this species can cause death or serious illness, especially in the young and elderly, and the most obvious initial symptom is intense pain
Latrodectus hasselti
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In its retreat
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In its web
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Immature female
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Several instars
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Egg sac mass
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Colour variations
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Colour variations
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The male

Redback spiders rarely become permanent residents of houses though they occasionally establish webs in open sheds. They can be found in poorly maintained lawns and in pumpkins and other broad-leafed vegetable crops. They are generally not common in eucalypt forests though in some forest areas the numbers have increased substantially in recent years.

The immature spiders vary in colour and this depends at least partly on how recently they have moulted. Males are very small and are rarely noticed.

Known range: Very common around houses in the whole of Australia (including Central Australia) and in Hobart.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Parasteatoda decorata.

Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 21 January 2022.