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Encoptarthria species?

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Encoptarthria species?
(ID based on similarities with internet images: see below)
Body length:
female: about 10 mm
male: about 8 mm
This species is an occasional inhabitant of decaying leaf litter and it or related species have been found widely in Australia, including Tasmania
The toxicity of this spider's venom is unknown
Encoptarthria species?
Click to enlarge
Female from above
Click to enlarge
Female side view
Click to enlarge
Underneath female

The identity of the spider shown on this page is uncertain, although its general appearance, and especially its oval and inwards-leaning posterior median eyes, strongly suggests it is a gnaphosid. It seems to have much in common with the better known Anzacia species. However, there are on the internet and in Whyte and Anderson's 2017 "A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia" book photos that are labelled Encoptarthria and that resemble those shown above, and Encoptarthria species have been recorded in Tasmania and Western Australia and are suggested to have a much wider distribution in this country.

However, it must be noted that most Lampona (Family Lamponidae) species look very similar to Encoptarthria and in fact should look similar to a gnaphosid because Lampona was originally included in the Family Gnaphosidae until Norman Platnick erected a new Family for lamponid species. The distinctive abdominal characteristics of a typical Lampona species are two pairs of pale dorsal abdominal patches and a fifth pale spot just above the spinnerets. As noted by Michael Gray on the Australian Museum website the two paired pale spots usually become fainter as a lamponid matures but the one over the spinnerets remains clearly enough to give this kind of spider the 'white-tailed spider' name. The spider shown above clearly has an adult female epigynum but all of the lamponid spots are just vague pale areas and not at all typical of those on a Lampona species. It is for these reasons the spider presented on this page is considered likely to be an Encoptarthria species rather than a Lampona species.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Some other gnaphosid species and most Lampona species.

Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 19 September 2019.