Net-casting Spider

13 February, 2011

Net-casting Spider - <I>Deinopis sp</I>.
Net-casting Spider - Deinopis sp.
Image: Alan Henderson
Source: Museum Victoria

Question: I recently found this interesting spider that looks like a stick in my backyard, could you tell me what it is?

Answer: This beautiful spider is what is commonly known as a Net-casting spider, and is a species from the genus Deinopis. These spiders have a pair of very large forward pointing eyes, resulting in one of their common names being the rather unflattering Ogre-faced spiders.

The spiders spin a small web that has the ability to be rapidly expanded to a number of times its size and that they hold between their front legs. At night with their large eyes they hang in an area where a potential meal is likely to be and wait with their web. When the prey walks or flies past they drop on them and wrap their net around it.

The spiders are not considered dangerous to people and like many species of spider there is quite a degree of difference between the males and females of the species. The females of the species Deinopis subrufa tend to be a pretty light brown or salmony colour while the males have very spindly legs and black and grey stripes. The legs are held in a way that gives the spider the appearanace of a large letter x, with two pairs held together and pointing forwards and 2 pairs held together and pointing backwards.





Comments (7)

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Eve 13 January, 2014 22:02
I have a fine example of a Net-casting spider, I think it is male as it has darker markings on the body and legs. He's huge and has set up base on the exterior of the window beside my backdoor. He's easily 12 cm in length without stretching the legs. In Blackburn area.
bob 17 February, 2015 09:54
I have one next to my front door...thought it was twigs caught up in a web and picked it up and threw it on the porch minute it's moving ... has made its way back to the original spot. Never seen one before ...very impressive. Box Hill Nth area.
Nina 1 January, 2017 22:08
Also in the Blackburn area, I found one in my camellia hedge, the first one I have ever seen. The spider guides seem to indicate they are subtropical - do they appear to be extending their habitat, are they fairly recent additions to the Melbourne fauna?
Discovery Centre 2 January, 2017 14:21
Hi Nina, there are currently 6 species in the genus Deinopis. The distribution of each species will be different but as a group these net-casting spiders are found over much of mainland Australia and Tasmania. Over the years we have received reports of these spiders from a number of Melbourne suburbs, often when one of the spiders makes themselves very visible by doing something like hanging off screen doors.  
Sue Braggs 6 January, 2017 13:41
I had one I took a photo of this morning, I live in Bairnsdale, Victoria, I put it on the page id on facebook and this is what they said it was. It is so nice to know the names of what lives with us. Cheers
Judy Pearce 12 March, 2017 22:50
I found a female next to my front door in Mulgrave over the last few days, I remember them on the documentaries.
Richard Freeman 4 May, 2017 20:55
I found female one camouflaged against the bricks of the house during the middle of the day. About 15-20 cm in Rowville, Melbourne
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