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Find-a-spider: Frequently-Asked Questions

What is the primary purpose of this website?
This website was developed to assist people to identify spiders found in South-east Queensland without the need to take the specimens to a museum or other source of spider expertise. Please note that the author of this website does NOT claim to be an expert spider taxonomist and the information given for each spider included is not presented in the correct taxonomic fashion. Instead it is written at a level of complexity such that it should be meaningful for members of the general public. On the other hand, the site has been as comprehensive as possible in regard to the number and variety of spider species included.

Are all Australian spider species listed here?
The primary object of this website is to provide information on spiders found in South-east Queensland but not all of the species featured are unique to Southern Queensland. Many of them actually occur widely across Australia. It is also worth mentioning that spiders that are very similar to, but not exactly the same as, those featured in this guide probably will belong to the same spider family and have similar functional characteristics.

How do I go about identifying a spider?
Check out out the Spider Identification Guide for more information on how to use this guide, then click on the Find-a-spider tab and choose from the options offered. Please note that all spider identifications are based on the visible features of the spider, where it was found and the appearance of its web or egg sacs. For many species this is a very difficult process and an accurate identification can only be made by an expert taxonomist. In addition, a large number of Australian species have yet to be formally described and for them no complete scientific name is available at the present time.

How can I examine a spider without getting bitten?
It is usually possible to catch a spider that is resting on a wall by placing a clear glass jar with a wide rim over the spider and then sliding a piece of stiff paper under the rim. If the spider is in a suspended web you will often be able to position your container on one side of the web and bring in the lid from the other side. Once the spider is in the jar and the lid is secured, you can give it a close-up inspection with no risk to yourself. Most spiders are not naturally aggressive towards humans anyway and prefer to drop to the ground and hide or play dead whenever a potential predator gets too close. It is important for you to understand that there are no dangerous spiders in Australia that can actually jump, although some can spring sideways as they fall to the ground and many are able to climb smooth surfaces.

Why can't I find my spider anywhere on this website?
Because this guide was developed to identify spiders found in South-east Queensland, the focus of the guide is on local species only. Another reason why this site may lack pictures of your spider is that the author has not yet managed to obtain photographs of that species or the spider is a species that is yet to be assigned a scientific name.

Why is it that in a number of cases different species have been given the same common name?
This may be true when several species have very similar appearance and behavioural characteristics and the common name given to them is based on those characteristics. For example, all trapdoor spider species live in a burrow with a door at the entrance.

I think I have just found a spider that is not already on this website. What should I do now?
The author would be pleased to look at any photographs you can take of it and attempt to provide a scientific name for it. If in fact that species is not yet on the website the photos of it will be added to the site as soon as possible but ONLY with the permission of the person who took them. Whenever this happens the photographer's name is always shown on the photo and copyright for it remains with them so it may not be used for any other purpose without their further permission.

Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 18 September 2009.