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The Spider's Parlour

Fascinating Facts


Frequently Asked Questions

Melbourne's Spiders

Writing Scientifically
Make your own:
Climbing spider
Spider web
Red-back spider


Fascinating Facts

About 35,000 species of spiders have been described throughout the world. Spiders live in almost every habitat on earth. The only places where there are no spiders are the polar regions and the oceans.

There are thousands of species of spiders in Australia, and most of them are harmless. Only Sydney Funnel-web and Red-back spiders are known to have caused deaths. Fewer than 30 people have died in Australia as a result of spider bites, and none have been recorded since 1981.

Spiders are not insects!
Spiders are related to insects - both belong to a large group of animals called arthropods (meaning 'jointed feet') that have hard external skeletons and jointed limbs. What sets spiders apart is that true spiders always have spinnerets, the organs used for spinning silk.

Spider History
Spiders were among the earliest land animals. The oldest spider fossil known is called Attercopus fimbriungis. It lived 380 million years ago, some 200 million years before the first dinosaurs appeared!

Spider fossil 115 million year old spider found at Koonwarra in Victoria.

Large and Small
Most spiders are so small that we never notice them. The smallest are the tiny Armoured Spiders with a body the size of a pinhead. They live in leaf litter and moss.

Anapidae Anapidae from Victoria

The largest spider in the world is the massive Goliath tarantula, Theraphosa leblondi. Fully grown, its legs can span a dinner plate.

Spiders & Sex



Spider Silk

Why so hairy?

© Museum Victoria Australia