What is a redback spider?
The redback spider is webbing spiders and is a extremely venomous spider believed to have emerged in South Australia or the Western Australian deserts but can now be found throughout Australia.
They can be easily recognisable with their black bodies and red markings down their back.
What does it look like and where can it be found?
Female Redback Spider:
- Up to 1 – 3cm long with a shiny spherical black body
- Red/orange stripe on the top of the abdomen and an hourglass mark at the bottom of the abdomen. (Sometimes the red stripe on the top of the abdomen can be broken and the colour may vary from black to brownish)
- They can live anywhere but the most common place to find redback spiders is suburban regions associated with human habitations. They tend to reside in dark, dry areas and can be found in logs or under rocks in the bush.
- They can also be seen in roof, floorboards, toilets, shelves, flowerpots, garages, or sheds
- The redback spider rarely leaves its web.
- Lifespan for 2-3 years and produce up to 10 egg sacs and 1 egg sac can carry 250 eggs
- They eat insects that get caught on their triangle shape of dry silk web, including lizards, mice, snakes, and frogs. They can even weave a trap that is very sticky, to catch and trap insects walking on the ground below their webs. They first inject their victim with their sticky superglue venom, immobilizing them, then covering it with the silk web.
Male Redback Spider:
- Much smaller than the Female 3–4 mm (0.4cm). Light brown colour body with white markings on the top of the abdomen and a pale hourglass marking on the underside.(The red marking is not as obvious as those on the female)
- The male often lives on the edge of the female spider’s web
- Live for up to 6 – 7 months. They do not build webs and will search for females to mate. It’s a complicated mating process and if the female does not accept, she will eat the male. Even while mating the male offers his abdomen to distract the female and often dies after she ate off him.
Baby Redback Spider:
- Baby spiders are creamy white (spots or smear colouration) with additional white markings on the abdomen and darker spots on their back. The young do get darker as they grow.
- white small hatchlings called a nymph and live on the edge of the female spider’s web just like the male
- The hatchling males mature in about 3 months and females in about 4 months
- Spiderlings hatch after about 8 days but only emerge from the egg sac in 11 days after being laid. If the temperature is cooler the baby’s emergence does not occur for months.
- Baby redback spiders is cannibal’s and will eat egg sacs and even their own siblings