The mouse spider genus contains 11 species, all of which are native to Australia except one.
The genus missulena in the family actinopodidae are often referred to as mouse spiders. They were first discovered by Charles Athanase Walckenaer in 1805. Missulena tussulena are usually found in Chile, but the rest are indigenous to the wildlife of Australia.
The name mouse spider comes from the debunked myth that they dig deep burrows like mice. Scotophaeus blackwalli is also known as the mouse spider, but they are somewhat distinct. They belong to a different family, are not mygalomorphs, are much smaller, has a completely different appearance, and they are not harmful.
Mouse spiders are medium-to-large spiders that measure between 0.394–1.18 in (1–3 cm) in length. Their carapace is shiny, and their heads are high and wide, with eyes spread across the front. Their spinnerets are small and situated in the back of the abdomen. Male and female mouse spiders aredimor phic, with female spiders being completely black and male spiders possessing species-specific coloration. Males of the eastern mouse spider (Missulena bradleyi) have a bluish patch on their backs, while male red-headed mouse spider (Missulena occatoria) have brownish or blue-black bodies and bright red-tinged jaws. Australian mouse spider males (Missulena bradleyi) have a white or blue patch on the front of the abdomen.
The spider's jaws are chelicerae, which end in fangs. The mouse spider's jaws shift in and out vertically, as do the jaws of all modern spiders, rather than straight up and down like the ancient spiders. These species prey mainly on insects, though they may prey on other small animals as well if they get the opportunity. The primary predators of this species include wasps, centipedes, and scorpions. According to the Australian Museum, red-head mouse spiders are most commonly found.
These mouse spiders are a kind of trapdoor spider and are sometimes mistaken for funnel web spiders. They, along with funnel-web spiders, can also be located in suburban gardens of Australia and sometimes are referred to as Australian mouse spiders.
Missulena bradleyi (eastern mouse spider) and Missulena occatoria (red-headed mouse spider) are species of spiders belonging to the genus missulena.
Mouse spiders belong to the class of arachnida.
The exact population of mouse spiders is unknown.
Mouse spiders can be located across most of Australia's habitats, from land with semi-arid shrubbery to open forests. Most mouse spiders are found in Australia, however one species is found in Chile, and another close relative is found in South America.
Mouse spiders have a Gondwanan distribution, with one genus in Chile and the others scattered throughout Australia, while the closest related genera are found elsewhere in South America. Mouse spiders, including trapdoor spiders, live in burrows with trapdoors that can reach nearly 11 in (30 cm) in diameter. Male mouse spiders roam in search of mates, while females stay in their burrows during the breeding season.
They, along with the funnel-web spider, can also be found in suburban gardens of New South Wales and Australia. They sometimes are referred to as Australian mouse spiders.
Mouse spiders live in large groups in burrows, which can be segregated or aggregated. The two trapdoors at the surface are the burrow's most peculiar feature. Silk and soil trapdoors frequently blend in with the earth, rendering them difficult to find and giving the appearance of dispersed rather than aggregated burrow sites, making it difficult to quantify their prevalence.
Eastern mouse spiders, who lives in the woods, have a single flap-like door and a small burrow with a side chamber. Unlike other species, this mouse spider has been seen in large aggregations on occasion. Since flooding rainfall washed the creatures from their burrows almost 300 specimens were gathered from the backyard of a house on the central coast of New South Wales.
The lifespan of mouse spiders is generally around two years.
Spider males reach sexual maturity around the age of four. During the breeding season, males of mouse spiders emerge from their shallow burrows in order to find a mate. They are unique in that they roam during the day-time, as opposed to other mygalomorph spiders whose males wander at night. This wandering behavior is unique to this species. Mating usually takes place in the females burrow. The female mouse spider lays 60 or more eggs in a single egg sac which she deposits in a brood chamber off her burrows main shaft. The spiderlings hatch from the egg sac in the summer and stay with their mother until dispersal in the fall.
Red-headed mouse spiders' spiderlings tend to spread via ballooning which is an unusual technique in mygalomorphs. This explains why red-headed mouse spiders have a wider range than other mygalomorph species, such as the male eastern mouse spider, which disperses on the ground.
Their conservation state is yet to be evaluated.
Mouse spiders exoskeletons are shiny, and they have high and wide heads. Their eyes are spread all across the front of their heads.
According to popular opinion, mouse spiders aren't considered cute, but the unique color contrast of the red-headed mouse spider is unique in its own way, which may be very alluring.
Research around how spiders communicate isn't very concrete. Some research points to vibrations as a communication mode, while others point to hormones as a communication mode.
Mouse spiders belong in the range of medium to large species of spiders. The range of male mouse spiders is between 0.3-0.7 in (1-2 cm), while females are usually larger than males ranging between 0.7-1.1 in (2-3 cm). They are around five times smaller than an average squirrel or ten times smaller than a rabbit.
No data about the speed of this species is available. But it is safe to assume they are not one of the fastest animals on the planet and belong to the slower side of the spectrum.
The exact weight of mouse spiders is unknown, but based on spider weight ranges, we can estimate between 0.0001-0.3 lb (0.05–170 g).
Male mouse spiders and female mouse spiders don't have unique names, but males can be distinguished from females through differences such as the male spiders having a distinct white and blue patch.
There is no separate name for a baby of this species.
Mouse spiders consume insects as their primary food, but they can also eat small vertebrates and other spiders. While their prey is normally ambushed from the trapdoors safety, mouse spiders have been seen foraging outside the burrow at night. They can eat anything from ants, bugs, and other spiders to small lizards and frogs thanks to their strong jaws and venom.
Yes, they are poisonous, but the mouse spider venom doesn't show serious symptoms in humans and is less likely to be dangerous as they may often give dry bites. Mouse spiders are far less aggressive towards humans. Because of the possible toxicity of funnel-web spider venom to humans, first-aid for envenomation should be provided. Fortunately, antivenom used for funnel-web spider bites is effective in the case of mouse spider bites.
The venom of some mouse spiders is highly toxic, and it can be almost as lethal as the Sydney funnel-web spiders. However, only a few cases of severe envenomation have been recorded. Unlike funnel-web spiders, the mouse spider bite is thought to have less venom and often gives dry bites.
A person with a unique liking for spiders might consider keeping these red-tinged spiders as a pet.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
The mouse spider genus contains 11 species, all of which are Australian mouse spiders and native to Australia. The name comes from a long-held theory, now disproven, that spiders dig deep burrows similar to mice.
Mouse spiders are a kind of trapdoor spider and can sometimes be mistaken for funnel web spiders.
The majority of these spiders reside in Australia. However, one species is found in Chile, and another close relative is found in South America. There are also noted populations of mouse spiders in California and Texas.
These spiders inhabit burrows in the soil that are equipped with a trap door. Males leave these burrows during the breeding season. Burrows of mouse spiders can reach a depth of 12 in (30 cm). Predators, parasites, low humidity, and high temperatures are all avoided by the burrow. Male mouse spiders will sometimes leave their burrows in search of mates, however, female mouse spiders will stay within their burrows for the majority of their lives unless they are accidentally dug up.
They, along with funnel-web spiders, can also be found in suburban gardens of New South Wales.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods, including yellow sac spider or wolf spider.
You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our mouse spider coloring pages.