Melbourne Trap-door Spider
  Stanwellia grisea
  Family: Nemesiidae  ID: Hogg
 
Melbourne Trap-door (or Southern Victorian) Spider, Stanwellia sp.
Picture of spider
Melbourne Trap-door Spider

Habitat and Biology
Due to its size, colour and large fangs, these spiders are often thought to be Sydney funnel-web spiders. The Melbourne trap-door spider is a common ground-dwelling spider often encountered by the weekend gardener when digging soil or moving rocks. Both males and females dig silk-lined burrows up to 40 cm deep in soft earth. Despite the reference in the common name, the entrance of the spider's burrow does not have a 'trap-door'. The spiders feed at night, waiting at the entrance of the burrow to ambush passing insects. Males leave the burrow when mature and roam in search of a mate. This roaming usually occurs in autumn or early winter and may take the spider into odd places such as inside houses, swimming pools, etc. Trap-door spiders have long life spans and may live from 5 to 20 years.

Colour
Male: Similar to female except that some specimens have golden hairs on the cephalothorax.
Female: Cephalothorax and legs brown, abdomen often paler with dark, mottled, rib-like pattern on upper surface.

Form
Large robust spiders, males are generally smaller-bodied and longer-legged than females.

Body Length
Male: 25mm
Female: 35mm

Web type
Several strands of silk radiate from around the entrance of the burrow.

Bite
Due the size of the fangs, the trap-door spider can inflict a deep, painful wound, but, the venom is not known to cause medical problems. The two large appendages on the tail of the spider are spinnerets, on which the silk glands open.

© Museum Victoria Australia