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Spiny Spider
  Austracantha minax
  Family: Araneidae  ID: Thorell, 1859
 
 
Jewel (or Spiny) Spider (Austracantha)
Jewel (or Spiny) Spiders, (Austracantha)
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Habitat and Biology
Also known as the Christmas spider or jewel spider, the spiny spider is found throughout most of Australia. It appears to prefer to live in shrubby woodlands, and is often found in colonies where large numbers of individuals congregate to construct their webs. Each spider makes its own individual web, but laced together the webs become large imposing structures capable of enshrouding entire bushes and causing annoyance to bushwalkers. Egg sacs are red brown in colour and vary in shape from pointed at each end to circular in shape. They are normally attached to a twig on the periphery of the web.

Colour
Male: Similar to female.
Female: Cephalothorax black. Abdomen black with a mottled yellow and white pattern of variable extent. Some specimens are completely black. Abdominal surface with a smooth enamelled appearance. Legs orange.

Form
Abdomen with six large projecting spines, cephalothorax small, legs short and stout. Male much smaller than female.

Body Length
Male: 3mm
Female: 9mm

Web type
Orb web. These spiders often occur in colonies with multiple overlapping webs.

Bite
This spider is rarely known to bite; however, the bite is recorded as mildly painful with a local reaction.

© Museum Victoria Australia