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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Juvenile banding

The spider presented on this pages is often identified 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. Unfortunately, it appears that the ranges of the two species overlap significantly.

The white marks on the upper abdominal surfaces are of somewhat limited value taxonomically because it is now clear that they are obvious on immature specimens but (except for the one over the spinnerets) fade to a large extent as the spider becomes mature. The banding of the legs also becomes less distinct as the spider matures and on the adult male a more noteworthy character is the plate-like scute on the front end of the abdomen, which is a feature of the males of many lamponid species.

White tailed spiders are known to feed almost obligatorily on other spiders, especially the black house spider, Badumna insignis, 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.

Known Range: This is the most common white-tailed spider in the northern half of Australia but allegedly has also been found as far south as Melbourne. Perhaps the reason for this apparent confusion is that it is not easy to distinguish between this species and the equally common Lampona cylindrata, which is mainly found in Southern Australia.

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

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Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 9 January 2022.