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Spiders of South-east Queensland

spidersQueensland's spiders range in size from the minute (Jumping Spiders) to the gigantic - from smaller than the head of a pin, to bigger than a hand span (Giant Green Huntsman Spiders). Some weave intricate webs and never budge (Tent Spiders), while others are constantly roving (Swift Ground Spiders).

Some have snake-like fangs and bite (Mouse Spiders), while others can be as elegant and harmless as a butterfly (Magnificent Spiders). Some live underground (Trapdoor Spiders), some hang out in trees (Triangular Spiders), some even walk on water (Giant Water Spiders). Their behaviour can be both spellbinding and spooky, beautiful and bizarre.

From Steven Speilberg's Arachnophobia, to Slim Newton's Redback on the Toilet Seat, to Little Miss Muffett's tuffet, spiders inspire story-telling. Spider legends span every continent.

Our intrinsic fear of spiders - and their various leggy relatives - has much to do with the fact that many of them pack a nasty bite (Redback Spiders). However, most arachnophobes will tell you that being bitten is the least of their worries.

Without antivenom, certain spider bites can kill us. Our pets can die from spider bite in a matter of minutes. The Funnel-Web Spider, for instance, is one of the most venomous critters in Australia.

The spider bite not only contains venom, but also a 'digestive aid' that liquefies the insides of their prey. Spiders can't chew like insects, so digestion begins inside the body of the prey. The contents of the prey are then sucked up by the spider.

Around the typical Queensland home, spiders make excellent guardians against the steady stream of irritating and destructive insects. Take the Brown Huntsman, for example. Unfortunately, most household spiders are swatted or sprayed, clearing the field for fruit-nibbling, curtain-chewing, jumper-munching insects.

Love them or loathe them, spiders command respect.



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