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Phrynarachne species

Fact Box
Phrynarachne species (RM)
(possibly P. tuberculata)
Body length:
female: 10 mm
male: 3 mm
This species is usually found in a silken retreat formed from a curved leaf; like many other thomisids it bends a long, slender green leaf into a loop (in this case 180 degrees) and binds it with strong silk, the retreat resembling half of a drum as used by musicians; this retreat also serves as a brood chamber
Probably harmless to humans
Phrynarachne species
Click to enlarge
Side view
Click to enlarge
Front view

Although in February 2013 Platnick's World Spider Catalog does not list any Phrynarachne species as occurring in Australia, there can be no doubting that the spider shown on this page is a Phrynarachne species. A colour photo of the Indian species Phrynarachne tuberosa can be found in the paper: Roy T.K., Dhali D.C., Saha S. and Raychaudhuri D. (2010) "Resurrection of the endemic bird dung crab spiders, Phrynarachne Thorell (Aranear: Thomisidae) of 19th century India", Munis Entomology and Zoology, 5, 543-550. This photo shows a spider that appears not to be identical with the one shown on this page but so nearly the same in surface anatomy that the one presented above must surely be a Phrynarache species. The World Spider Catalog lists P. tuberculata and P. jobiensis as being present in New Guinea so it is likely that one or both of these have a range extending into North Queensland. In addition, Ramon Mascord claims that the Phrynarachne species photos he included in his 1980 booklet were all collected in the Cairns region.

Distinguishing characteristics of this species are the very rough body surfaces and paired dorsal projections.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Stephanopis corticalis and some other thomisids as well as Celaenia excavata and similar araneids.

Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 25 February 2013.