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Jewel Spider

Astracantha minax, previously Gastracantha minax

Jewel Spider
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Jewel Spider Astracantha minax
The Jewel Spider also called a Spiny Spider or a Christmas Spider (Astracantha minax, previously Gasteracantha minax), is a medium-sized spider. The female is about 10 mm across its abdomen, and the male around 5 mm. It has 6 spines on its round, hard abdomen, giving it a crab-like appearance, and is very brightly coloured, with red legs. On its abdomen it has yellow and white spots on a black background. These spiders rarely bite, and if they do, the poison normally only causes a localised reaction.

Jewel spiders are very pretty spiders, and they are quite common throughout Australia, mostly inhabiting marshes, swamps, and bushland. If near water, they build their web over the surface, thereby catching mosquitoes and other water-dwelling insects. They build a typical orb web, and catch small insects (and occasionally big beetles, too!). They appear to make the supports for their webs deliberately visible, possibly to stop large animals and humans from walking into it, therefore ruining the web. The jewel spider has been known to build webs in groups, therefore increasing their chances of catching insects.

Male jewel spiders are only about half the size of the female, and like all male spiders, they have to be careful not to become dinner! The female lays eggs in an egg sack, which can be shaped from pointy at both ends to completely round. She hangs the egg sack on a twig near the edge of the web, and they are left there until they hatch and make webs of their own.

See our Jewel Spider images.

 

Language Common name Where Found
     
     
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Araneomorphae
Family: Araneidae
Genus: Austracantha
Species: A. miinax

Other links - Jewel Spider

Victorian Spiders Includes information about the Spiny Spider
Brisbane insects and Spiders
Includes information on the Jewel Spiders, also known as Christmas spiders and Spiny Spiders.

 

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