Latrodectus hasselti Thorell

[Araneida: Theridiidae]


Article by Bruce Gow

Adult: Redback spiders range from 10-20 mm. The body is round and varies in colour for females, males and juveniles. Females are typically entirely black with a broad red band down the back of the body and a red hourglass mark underneath. Some females, however, are light brown and the typical red markings are orange. Males are white to brown with red markings. Males have black and white banded legs and sometimes white striations from the red stripe down the body. Juveniles are a pale, dirty white with six black spots down the back of the body and a pale hourglass mark underneath. The head is small and has 8 eyes, a pair of fangs and chelicerae. Eyes occur in two rows of four across the front of the carapace in an ellipse. Antennae, wings and cerci are absent in spiders. All 8 legs are similar in shape.

Reproduction& Life-cycle:Adult females lay eggs within a sac. Egg sacs are small, round, white and located on the web. Redback spiders are monovoltine and juveniles overwinter in the egg sac. Adults build an untidy web of fine but strong silk.

Distribution:Redback spiders are common all over Australia.

Pest Status:Webs are constructed away from the direct effects of weather; under steps, chairs, tables, window sills, under pot plant edges, around rubbish bins and in public buildings and parks, including playground equipment. Redback spiders are fairly timid and only the female is large enough to bite. Bites are toxic and cause intense local pain and local sweating at the site of the bite. In approximately 40% of bites, muscular weakness, paralysis, stiffness, loss of coordination and tremors are common.

“Redbacks are arguably one of the most dangerous spider species in the world. They pose an enourmous threat to children as well as adults. Everyone at A1 Pest Control realizes how important your family and pets are and we take any pest threat seriously. Call us up today for a hassle free quote or to organize an appointment.”- Bruce Gow

Contact A1 Pest Control or Bruce today on 0417 251 911