Habitat and Biology
The white tailed spider is a vagrant hunter which feeds mainly on other spiders. It is nocturnally active and often enters buildings where it can be seen walking across floors and up walls. It is commonly found in the bedroom. During daylight hours, the spider seeks a dark place to hide. Indoors, this may be in clothing that has been left lying about and bites may occur when this clothing is subsequently used. In nature, the spider can be found under the bark of trees and under rocks.
During periods of quiescence such as moulting and egg laying, the spider spins a silken sac-like retreat. The eggs, which have a pinkish hue, are encased in a flattened silk capsule and guarded by the female until hatching.
Similar to female but with two pairs of pale spots always present on the abdomen and a dark, oval plate toward front of abdomen on upperside.
Body dark grey, legs with reddish brown tinge, abdomen with dull white patch at tip and sometimes with more or less distinct, paired, pale spots on the middle of the abdomen.
Body cylindrical, often described as cigar-shaped, front two pairs of legs directed forward.
Does not build a web.
Bites by this spider are relatively frequent due to its wandering habit. Symptoms range from no reaction to swelling and local blistering at the bite site and nausea. The white tailed spider has been suggested as a culprit in rare cases of large scale necrotic lesions but there is little supporting evidence.
For additional information see
The Medical Journal of Australia (1999)171: 99-102 - Acute and recurrent skin ulceration after spider bite
Australian Venom Research Unit - White tailed spiders
The Medical Journal of Australia 2003; 179 (4): 199-202 - White-tail spider bite: a prospective study of 130 definite bites by Lampona species