The female Victorian Funnel-web Spider characteristically has a shiny black cephalothorax (fused head and thorax) and a dark brown to black abdomen. The male is similar to the female, although the cephalothorax and legs often have a polished lustre. In form, the Victorian Funnel-web is similar to the Melbourne Trap-door Spider, but the body is generally smaller and darker and lacks the rib-like markings on the top of the abdomen.
A Victorian Funnel-web Spider
Photographer: Alan Henderson. Source: Museum Victoria
Habitat and biology
Around Melbourne, these spiders are only known from in the Dandenong Ranges area.
Female and male habits and biology are similar to the Melbourne Trap-door Spider. Females remain in or around their silk-lined burrow.
During late summer and autumn, males wander in search of females and may enter buildings.
Funnel-web spiders use ‘trip-wires’ to catch their prey. These trip-wires are strands of silk radiating from the burrow entrance. At night, the spider sits inside the entrance with its legs touching the silken strands. When it feels the vibrations of an insect tripping the wires, the spider pounces on the prey.
Although these spiders are related to the Sydney Funnel-web Spider, they have not been implicated in any fatalities or serious envenomations. They are only known to cause general symptoms such as headaches and nausea.
Brunnet, B. 1994. The Silken Web – A Natural History of Australian Spiders. Reed Books: Melbourne.
Lindsey, T. 1998. Spiders of Australia. New Holland Publishers: Sydney.
Walker, K. L., Yen, A. L. and Milledge, G. A. 2003. Spiders and Scorpions commonly found in Victoria. Royal Society of Victoria: Melbourne.