The Find-a-Spider Guide

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Enamel spider

Fact Box
Species:
Plebs bradleyi
(formerly Araneus bradleyi)
(identification as shown below)
Family:
Araneidae
(formerly Argiopidae)
Body length:
female: at least 11 mm
male: about 6 mm
Habitat:
This species builds a small orb web among the leaves of shrubs or tall grasses and reasonably close to the ground. The female of this species is said to be most active at night, tending to hide in a leafy retreat during the daylight hours
Toxicity:
Not significantly aggressive towards humans
Plebs bradleyi
Click to enlarge
Underside of spider
Click to enlarge
Two-tone example

The current name of this spider is as shown in the paper: Joseph M.M. and Framenau V.W. (2012) Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 160 279-341. The bright colours and smooth upper surfaces of this spider have led to it being given the common name of the enamel (or enamelled) spider. There are several other Plebs species in Eastern Australia, the most common of which is Plebs eburnus. P. bradleyi has an abdomen that is relatively longer and narrower than that of P. eburnus and some, but by no means all, individual specimens of both species have blue areas on the dorsal abdomen. This blue colour may extend across almost the entire abdomen in the case of P. eburnus but is only ever present on the lateral edges of P. bradleyi, producing a 'two-tone'effect. It should be noted that the abdominal markings on P. eburnus are variable so it is easy to confuse the two species but an essential difference is that only on P. bradleyi do the dorsal abdominal markings present as a V-shaped pattern.

Note that the web built by this spider typically has a stabilimentum stripe (a zigzag band of white silk) diagonally across its centre. This is also seen on the webs of other Plebs species and some other araneid spiders, and particularly Argiope species and on Gea theridioides.

Known Range: This spider is recorded as being in South-east Queensland down to Melbourne and across to Adelaide and Tasmania.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Other Plebs species and at least some other araneid species.


Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 4 January 2022.