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Morebilus plagusius

Fact Box
Morebilus plagusius
(identification based on a paper by Norman Platnick; see notes below)
Body length:
female: 18-28 mm
male: 12-18 mm
(but see notes below)
Mostly under loose bark or loose stones on open hillsides; said to be able to climb vertical glass surfaces unlike Hemicloea species
Uncertain; may be aggressive when defending its egg sacs
Morebilus plagusius
Click to enlarge
A closer view

This spider was presented by Ramon Mascord in his 1970 spider book as Hemicloea major (Family Drassidae, now Family Gnaphosidae) and it was considered to be a Hemicloea species until 2002 when Platnick moved some gnaphosid genera into the Family Trochanteriidae and renamed it Morebilus plagusius. Morebilus is a flattened spider like Hemicloea but differs in having shorter spinnerets that are not visible from above. It is a curious fact that all available images of Morebilus plagusius show a spider that is almost uniformly black with shiny legs whereas Platnick described it as having light brown carapace and legs as well as a grey abdomen. This suggests he only examined preserved specimens from which much of the colour had been lost. Platnick also stated that for M. plagusius the female body is 18 mm long and the male body is 12 mm long but Mascord and others say this is species is somewhat longer than this.

Known Range: A common species found in bush settings in South-east Queensland but mainly in near-coastal NSW localities down to just west of Melbourne as well as around Adelaide.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Some other trochanteriids and also Hemicloea rogenhoferi.

Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 16 January 2022.