January 2019

Hairy and Scary

Golden Trapdoor Spider. Photo courtesy of Rosemary Philips.

Can you identify this large Spider found in my garden? Is it a Funnel Web?

Answer

Golden Trapdoor Spider Burrow. Photo courtesy of Robert Raven QM.

The spider in your image is NOT a Funnel Web. These large, robust looking spiders are commonly mistaken for the notorious Funnel Web, but the spider you have photographed is actually a beautiful Golden Trapdoor (a species of Euoplos). Golden Trapdoors are found in southern Queensland, parts of the east coast into Victoria, and south-western Australia. In the south-east corner of Queensland they are mostly found in lush rainforests and moist vine thickets, and are occasionally reported from outer suburbs of Brisbane.

Golden Trapdoors build a short burrow in the ground (or an embankment) with a characteristic thick, strong door. This door is so perfectly moulded into the entry that it actually makes the burrow watertight during floods. As the spider grows it enlarges the burrow and replaces the door.

As with most trapdoor spiders the female will remain in her burrow for most of her life. She hunts insects near the burrow, and uses trip-lines of web attached to the entrance to notify her of the presence of prey.

Males generally move about in moist conditions, especially in rain. This limits their movements to wetter seasons; museum records indicate that they start to move about in summer, and the peak of their activity is in autumn.

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.