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Sydney funnel-web spider
|Sydney funnel-web spider|
The Sydney funnel-web spider, also called a funnel-web tarantula, (Atrax robustus) is regarded by some to be the most dangerous spider in the world. Examination of bite records seems to indicate that wandering males have caused a large majority of fatal bites to humans. The female venom seems to be only about a sixth as potent to humans as that of the male. It has been said that no one survived the bite of an adult male spider of this type up until the development of antivenom in 1980, but there is no assurance that all funnel-web bites were reported. The venom is known to cause death within a period ranging from three and one half hours to three days.
The genus Hadronyche also has similar highly venomous spiders, especially the Blue Mountains Funnel-web (Hadronyche versuta ).
These spiders construct a funnel shaped web and lurk for prey in the small end of the funnel. They frequently search for a place to nest under human dwellings, or under nearby rocks, logs, or other similar objects. They are most active at night. They are not extremely large, the largest being about 40mm long, but they bite repeatedly and in a very aggressive manner. Most bites seem to occur when the male spiders wander about looking for receptive female Sydney funnel-web spiders for mating in the warmer months of the year. Male spiders are often found in swimming pools, yards, and garages.
- Main, Barbara York. 1976. Spiders. Collins, Sydney, Australia.
- McKeown, Keith C. 1952. Australian Spiders. Angus and Robertson, Sydney, Australia.
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