The Find-a-Spider Guide

The Find-a-Spider Guide    The Find-a-Spider Guide    The Find-a-Spider Guide    The Find-a-Spider Guide
Find a spider by...     common name     location       species       family       webs and egg sacs     photos

Central Queensland tarantula

Fact Box
Species:
Selenocosmia crassipes (RM)
(or a closely related species; the correct name for this species is still in some dispute; see notes below)
Family:
Theraphosidae
Body length:
female: about 55 mm
male: about 40 mm
Habitat:
In a deep burrow in open bush and native grasslands. The burrow lacks a door but may have a collar of silk and possibly a thin veil of webbing across the entrance, especially if the spider has mated and now has eggs or spiderlings in the burrow
Toxicity:
The venom of this spider, and especially the male, may be significantly toxic to humans so handle with caution
Selenocosmia crassipes
Click to enlarge
Another view
Click to enlarge
Underneath male
Click to enlarge
Male abdomen
Click to enlarge
The female
Click to enlarge
Eyes of female
Click to enlarge
Burrow entrance
Click to enlarge
Another specimen
Click to enlarge
Another view

In recent years there has been debate as to the appropriate generic name for the species shown on this page. A few years ago the Queensland Museum staff suggested there are no genuine Selenocosmia species in Australia, this genus being restricted to parts of Asia. Instead, Phlogius was proposed as the correct name but this suggestion has not been accepted as yet and in 2017 the World Spider Catalog lists no Australian Phlogius species although this was the name they were originally given more than a century ago.

This species and some other Australian tarantulas are also called barking or the bird-eating spider, neither of which is really appropriate. Another name that is sometimes applied to them is 'whistling' spider because they have a stridulating organ associated with the mouth parts and this can produce a faint whistling sound.

Distinguishing features of Selenocosmia species are the hirsute (hairy) legs, the presence of brushes on the ends of the legs, and the relatively long spinnerets. Theraphosids are the only true tarantulas, but some people erroneously call huntsmen and wolf spiders tarantulas although these are very different in appearance and in family relationships.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Only other Australian theraphosids such as Selenocosmia stirlingi.


Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 19 October 2017.