The Find-a-Spider Guide

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Pirate spider

Fact Box
Australomimetus spinosus (QM)
(also matching photos on Robert Whyte's Arachne website)
Body length:
female: 5 mm
male: 4.5 mm
Usually on green leaves or under fallen logs but are sometimes found in the webs of other spiders they are attacking; they probably do not make substantial webs of their own
this species is relatively small, timid and secretive; bitings are rare
Australomimetus spinosus
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Legs extended
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The leg spines
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The male
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As a pirate
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Another species?
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Female from above
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Female underside
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Egg sac

Australomimetus spinosus seems to be the most common member of this genus to be found in Eastern Australia but there are many other Australomimetus species in this country and most are too similar in overall appearance for easy identification.

These spiders are called pirate spiders because they feed on other spiders rather than on insects. One of the photos included on this page shows an immature male specimen feeding on a female Parasteatoda tepidariorum. Australomimetus species do not use webbing to catch their prey but may use a small amount as protection for their eggs and subsequent spiderlings.

Mimetids are characterised by a row of large curved spines on the leg tibia and the next segment (the metatarsus) of the first pair of legs, each pair of large spines being separated by a set of small spines. The first two pairs of legs are much longer than the other two pairs and sometimes fold back over the spider's body. All legs are obviously spiny but the spines are not as erect as on oxyopid spiders.

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

Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 23 May 2017.