Funnel-webs spin a deadly doorbell

Funnel-webs spin a deadly doorbell

#Taronga Zoo Sydney

Posted on 22nd June 2015 by Media Relations

Did you know Sydney Funnel-web Spiders make trip-lines of web radiating out from their burrows’ entrance? These act as a doorbell; as a cockroach, beetle or other food item, touches the trip lines, vibrations travel down the web to the spider, who can then rush out to catch their food.

There are at least 40 species of Funnel-web Spiders found across the east coast of Australia.

Two types of Funnel-web Spiders are located in the Sydney region; the Southern Tree-dwelling Funnel-web Spider, and the Sydney Funnel-web Spider, being the most venomous of all. The Sydney Funnel-web Spider is found from Newcastle to Nowra and west as far as Lithgow in NSW.

Funnel-webs make their funnel-shaped webs in moist, cool, sheltered burrows. They have external book lungs which prevent them from coming outside in hot, dry weather without suffocating. They need to stay in their damp burrows to keep their lungs moist enough so they can breathe.

Typically, people will find these spiders above ground if they have disturbed their web during gardening or when they come out of their burrows at night time in humid weather.

If you have sheltered, damp areas in your garden, always make sure you wear covered shoes and gloves when working in the garden and take care if walking in these areas at night after rain.

Remember, spiders are not here to scare or hurt people! Sometimes they might accidentally bite us out of fear. If you are bitten by a Funnel-web Spider, remember to seek medical advice.

If you would like to learn more interesting facts about Funnel-webs and other Australian Spiders, come to our Spider Talk at 3pm, located at the Bush Amphitheatre on the Kids Trail, Trail 5.

- Keeper, Bec Noad