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Encoptarthia species?

Fact Box
Encoptarthia species? (QM)
(This identification is tentative for reasons stated below)
Body length:
female: about 4 mm
male: perhaps 3.5 mm
This species is a very common inhabitant of leaf litter in eucalypt forests; it does not normally use an insect-trapping web, preferring to ambush its prey
This spider's fangs are probably too small to penetrate human skin
Encoptarthia species?
Click to enlarge
Another specimen
Click to enlarge
Underneath spider

There apparently are no photos of a named spider matching the one shown on this page either on the internet or in books or accessible published papers. In a few places such as the Tasmanian Spiders website there are photos of a spider that resembles the above spider and that are labelled as Encoptarthia species. None of them are a perfect match for this spider, mainly because the abdomen of the female is always much large than that of the spider shown here. However, one reason for this may be that the specimen in the photos on this page is a juvenile which will inevitably look somewhat different from either adult of that species. The World Spider Catalog lists five Encoptarthia species as being present in Australia, four of them collected in Weatern Australia and one in Tasmania, as well as at least one in New Zealand. On this basis it certainly is possible that there is also at least one in Queensland, where the above spider was found.

Note that members of the Family Gnaphosidae are distinguished by the presence of a wide-set pair of spinnerets and an unusual feature of the one shown on this page is the presence of paired ventral spines on the outer segments of the legs..

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: A variety of other spiders, including some not within the Family Gnaphosidae.

Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 30 April 2017.