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Dictis striatipes

Fact Box
Species:
Dictis striatipes
(see notes below)
Family:
Scytodidae
formerly Sicariidae
Body length:
female: 6 mm
male: 5 mm
Habitat:
In caves and in the corners of open, man-made structures such as sheds and bridges as well as internal window ledges
Toxicity:
This spider presents a minimal hazard because the fangs and chelicerae cannot open wide
Dictis striatipes
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Side view
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Female from above
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Other views
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With its eggs

In December 2016 the World Spider Catalog did not list Dictis striatipes as a described species but did show Scytodes fusca and Scytodes tardigrada as accepted species. This agrees with the images shown by Ramon Mascord in 1980 but there is now convincing evidence that the spider presented on this page is not the same as Scytodes fusca but may in fact be the same species as S. tardigrada. Hence, the correct name for the scytodid found in Northern Australia and parts of Asia is now suggested by Dr Robert Raven (Queensland Museum) to be Dictis striatipes.

An unusual feature of this species is that the dominant appearance of the females is a melanic (almost uniformly near-black) colour whereas the males and at least a few of the females are a pink-orange-yellow colour with thin black cross-bands on both the carapace and abdomen.

This spider normally stands high on stilt-like legs. The carapace is unusual in sloping upwards towards its rear end, whereas the abdomen slopes downwards. Scytodes does not construct a typical egg coccoon but holds a batch of eggs loosely tied together with silk under its chelicerae.

Scytods are also known as spitting spiders because instead of using venom to immobilize prey they 'spit' mucilaginous material over the prey thus preventing them from escaping. They also do not build a web for catching insects but may sometimes be found in a dense woolly matted web constructed within a convenient crevice.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Scytodes thoracica.


Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 21 December 2016.