Sat, 12/20/2014 - 08:18 post
When was the last time you saw a Christmas spider in the garden?
These festive spiders are commonly found all over Australia, including Tasmania.
Christmas Spiders (Austracantha minax) are lovely little spiders that belong to the orb-weaving spider family Araneidae, and like their relative build delicate orb-webs which are rather sticky.
Their prey consists of small flying insects which they consume in their webs after wrapping them in silk and injecting them with venom.
The adult females are less than 1 cm in length, and have several pointed spines on their abdomen, with brightly coloured patches of white, orange and blue. The males are much smaller than the females, and are more uniformly coloured.
Christmas Spiders are most easily observed during spring and summer, with the adult females maturing at this time. They often congregate in large numbers, and are less common in urban settings than in past decades, probably due to insecticides and lack of suitable habitat. However, they are still common in bushland habitats. #revealingthemuseum