6 Most Common Spiders in Queensland

South East Queensland is home to a variety of spider species ranging from the harmless to life-threatening. Continue reading for more information on how to identify and treat bites from some of Queensland's most common spiders.
South East Queensland is home to a variety of spider species ranging from the harmless to life-threatening. Continue reading for more information on how to identify and treat bites from some of Queensland's most common spiders.

South east Queensland is teaming with a variety of spider species.

In this article, we uncover the appearance, habitat, and danger level of 6 of Queensland's most common spider species.

You can also enrol in one of our Queensland first aid courses to learn more about identifying and treating spider bites:

We have training locations in every state, capital city, and major town throughout Australia. Head to our website to find and enrol in a first aid course near you today.

The Funnel web spider
The Funnel web spider

Funnel web spider

Appearance

Though there are at least 40 species of Funnel web spiders, they generally have the following characteristics:

  • Medium to large sized body ranging from 1 cm to 5 cm
  • Their body colour can range from dark brown to black
  • The carapace covering the front of their body is shiny and sparsely covered in hair

Habitat

Funnel webs live in burrows in cool, sheltered sites with plenty of moisture. For instance, they can be found in or under:

  • Rocks
  • Crevices
  • Rotting logs
  • Dense shrubberies
  • Borer holes in rough-baked trees

Their burrows are often characterised by silk trip lines radiating out from the entrance.

Danger

Though not all Funnel webs are known to be dangerous, any bite from a Funnel web should be treated as a medical emergency.

Some Funnel-web venom can turn nerves 'on' and force them to fire repeatedly, which can lead to muscle spasms, low blood pressure, organ failure, coma, and death.

First aid

  1. Reassure the casualty and keep them at rest and under constant observation
  2. Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance
  3. Follow the basic life support guidelines per DRSABCD
  4. Apply the Pressure Immobilisation Technique
  5. Immobilise the limb and joints with a splint until the ambulance arrives - if the bite site is on an arm, use a sling

Looking to get you First Aid knowledge up to date?

We run certified First Aid courses throughout all major Acustralian citys. Find a location near you.

The Redback spider
The Redback spider

Redback spider

Appearance

  • Redback spiders have slender legs and a pea-shaped body
  • Females can reach up to 1 cm in size, while males tend to range from 3 mm to 4 mm - only females can bite humans, as the males' fangs are too small to penetrate skin
  • Females are black in colour and have an orange to red stripe on the top of their abdomen - males, on the other hand, are usually light brown with white or yellow markings
  • Females have an orange to red hourglass shaped marking on the underside of their abdomen - this marking is also present in males, though it tends to be more pale in colour

Habitat

Redback spiders tend to build their webs in dry, sheltered sites close to human habitation, including:

  • Sheds
  • Toilets
  • Rocks and junk piles

Their webs comprise a funnel-like upper retreat area from which sticky catching threads emanate.

Danger

Redback spiders are retiring creatures and rarely leave their webs. As such, most bites occur when a person puts their hand or other body part directly into a web.

Signs and symptoms of a Redback spider bite can include:

  • Intense pain, redness, swelling, and sweating at the bite site
  • Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain
  • Tenderness in the armpit or groin of the affected limb
  • Loss of coordination
  • Rapid, shallowing breathing

It is important to remember, though more than 250 people receive antivenom for Redback spider bites each year, many other cases of envenomation go unreported due to the mildness of the symptoms.

Likewise, though Redback spider bites have caused fatalities in the past, the last recorded death from a Redback spider bite was in 1955, a year before the antivenom was developed.

First aid

  1. Reassure the casualty
  2. Apply a cold compress to the bite site for periods of up to 20 minutes to lessen the pain
  3. Observe the casualty for any signs of deterioration
  4. If the casualty is under 8 years of age, call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance

Seek medical attention if you are worried about your symptoms, or if they get worse instead of better.

The Huntsman spider
The Huntsman spider

Huntsman spider

Appearance

  • Flat, dark coloured body that can range from 1.6 cm to 2 cm - females tend to be larger than males
  • Long, hairy legs that can span up to 15 cm and bend forward like those of a crab

Habitat

  • Under loose tree bark
  • In crevices on rock walls
  • Beneath rocks, logs, and other litter

In rainy or humid conditions, Huntsman spiders have also been known to hide in homes and cars.

Danger

Huntsman spiders are largely harmless to humans, as their bites are infrequent and generally only cause negligible symptoms like mild pain and swelling.

Treat as for a Redback spider bite.

The Wolf spider
The Wolf spider

Wolf spider

Appearance

  • Hairy, drab coloured body covered in grey, brown, or black markings
  • Their underside can be light grey, cream, or black and superimposed with black or white markings

Habitat

Wolf spiders commonly take shelter in suburban backyards in leaf litter or burrows, which may or may not have a trapdoor.

Danger

Wolf spider are not considered dangerous to humans, as they generally prefer to run away from conflict and their bites typically cause mild symptoms like localised pain or itchiness.

Some people, however, may experience more severe symptoms like nausea, dizziness, and a rapid pulse.

Treat as for a Redback spider bite.

The Daddy-long-legs spider
The Daddy-long-legs spider

Daddy-long-legs spider

Appearance

  • Small body that that is almost translucent and generally ranges from 2 mm to 10 mm
  • Long, skinny legs that can grow up to 50 mm

Habitat

Daddy-long-legs are common throughout urban areas, especially houses. They tend to build their thin, tangled webs in sheltered, relatively undisturbed areas like:

  • Under furniture
  • Behind doors
  • In the corners of ceilings

Danger

The Daddy-long-legs spider is considered largely harmless to humans, as its venom generally only causes a short lived burning sensation.

Treat as for a Redback spider bite.

The Golden orb weaver spider
The Golden orb weaver spider

Golden orb spider

Appearance

  • Females can range from 2 cm to 5 cm, while males tend to average a modest 5 mm
  • Females have a silver-grey to plum coloured body, typically with yellow banded legs - males, meanwhile, are red-brown to brown in colour

Habitat

Golden orb weavers suspend their large, wheel-shaped webs between trees and shrubs in a variety of environments, including mangroves, dry open forest, and coastal sand dune shrubland.

Danger

The Golden orb weaver is considered virtually harmless to humans, as their bites are infrequent and generally only cause negligible or mild local pain, swelling, and numbness.

Treat as for a Redback spider bite.

Final thoughts

You can enrol in one of our Queensland first aid courses to learn more about identifying and treating spider bites:

We have training locations in every state, capital city, and major town throughout Australia. Head to our website to find and enrol in a first aid course near you today.

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