The Find-a-Spider Guide

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Phycosoma martinae

Fact Box
Species:
Phycosoma martinae
or a closely related species (This identification is based on the contents of the Agnarsson Lab website at www.theridiidae.com/phycosoma.html but see also the notes below)
Family:
Theridiidae
(Subfamily Hadrotarsinae)
Body length:
female: 2 mm
male: 1.5 mm
Habitat:
Little is known of the normal habitat of this species but the one shown here was living on some chick pea plants
Toxicity:
Much too small to cause a significant human envenomation
Phycosoma martinae
Click to enlarge
Underneath female
Click to enlarge
Male side view

The World Spider Catalog does not list any Phycosoma species as being present in Australia but this presumably just means that no one has as yet published a scientific paper describing any Australian example of this genus. However, on the internet there are photos on several different websites that are labelled as Phycosoma martenae and are of specimens found near Cairns, Darwin and the Kimberley region of Western Australia. All of these photos show a spider that looks very similar to the one shown above, which was found in Central New South Wales. There are a number of Phycosoma species, including P. martinae, recorded for many parts of Asia and elsewhere so this spider shown on this page could be just a version of P. martinae or perhaps another, presently undescribed Phycosoma species.

A significant and confusing characteristic of known Phycosoma species is that the male and female look very different, the female having a cephalothorax that slopes upwards towards the eyes and the male having a 'squared off' cephalothorax with a pattern of deep grooves behind the head region. This latter pattern was what had previously caused taxonomists to consider the male to be a Dipoena species.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: None.


Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 8 November 2019.