The Find-a-Spider Guide

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White-tailed spider

Fact Box
Lampona murina (Platnick)
Previous species name:
Lampona cylindrata (a misidentification)
Body length:
female: 16 mm
male: 12 mm
On walls/ceilings of houses and sheds or under tree bark
Probably does not cause necrotising arachnidism
Lampona murina
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The male
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Male, close up
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Another species?
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This species has previously been identified by most people as Lampona cylindrata but recent taxanomic work has indicated that it is a different, though closely related, species. According to Platnick, L. cylindrata is mostly found in southern parts of Australia whereas L. murina is the equivalent species in the northern half of the continent.

Both the cephalothorax and abdomen of this spider are tapering cylinders coloured satin black. The fovea on the carapace runs lengthwise rather than across as it does on many other spider species. The distinctive off-white spot at the rear end of the abdomen gives this spider its common name. Two lateral pairs of pale spots are also seen on the upper surfaces of the abdomen, especially in immature specimens.

White tailed spiders are known to feed obligatorily on other spiders, especially the black house spider, and can be found almost anywhere in a house or other rural building. They are most likely to roam at night and can drop down from the ceiling onto beds.

Recent toxicological reports have cast strong doubts about the ability of white-tailed spiders to cause development of large areas of long-lasting skin ulceration when they bite humans.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Some other lamponid species.

Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 23 November 2012.