Helderberg, Western Cape
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Black House Spider
Facts about spiders
• This species is a dark robust spider, about 1-1.5cm in body length.
• The spiders mature during summertime and live for about 2 years.
• The Black Spider webs are found on tree trunks, logs, rock walls, window frames, crevices, dark corners, verandas, sheds and fences.
• Their webs are untidy, lacy sheets with funnel like entrances.
• The female spider never leaves her web and keeps on repairing it. The old webs can look grey and woolly from the constant
additions of silk.
• Black house spiders are venomous, but not dangerous. They are timid spiders and bites from them don’t often occur. However,
the bite can be excruciatingly painful and causes local swelling around the bite.
• Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sweating and giddiness are occasionally recorded. Skin lesions
can develop after multiple bites. First aid and medical attention (ambulance) should be sought as soon as possible.
Common House Spider
Facts about the Common House Spider
• Adult – body length excluding legs 6mm - 9.5mm. Yellow brown body with faint markings. Abdomen pale grey brown with short hairs.
• The male will mate several times with the female before dying.
• Adults may live for several years.
• Found in buildings, sheds and walls.
• This spider produces a sheet web
Daddy Long Legs Spider
Facts about Daddy Long Legs spider
• T7-9mm long
• TCharacterised by having very long legs
• TThey spin a loose web in sheltered areas, often in and around human habitation including houses, garages and sheds.
• TThey are common in urban areas.
• TThey feed on insects and other spiders.
• TThey are non-toxic to humans
Funnel Web Spider
Garden Orb-Weaving Spider
• The commonly seen Garden Orb Weavers are 1-2.5cm in length. Most are stout ,
reddish – brown or grey spiders with a leaf shaped pattern on their triangular abdomens.
• The female Orb Weaver lays her eggs in late summer to autumn. The eggs are encased
in a fluffy cocoon and attached to foliage.
• During autumn, the spiderlings disperse by ballooning (floating on the breeze using small
silk strands as “balloons”), and build their own tiny orb webs among vegetation.
• The lifespan is about twelve is about twelve months. They mature in summer, mate, lay
their eggs, and die in late summer-autumn.
• Make suspended, sticky, wheel – shaped orb webs.
• Hides on foliage during day and constructs web at night.
• Not aggressive.
• Flying insects such as flies, beetles and bugs (including large prey like cicadas) are
• Orb Weavers are reluctant to bite humans. Symptoms are usually negligible or mid local
pain, numbness and swelling.
• Adult – 3-9.5mm body. The upper body surface has light grey/brown pattern, the
lower surface is typically cream.
• The females lay eggs in moist soil.
• The eggs survive through winter and hatch in the spring.
• Only one batch of eggs is laid each year.
• They climb tree trunks or look for food on the ground.
• They feed on many soft bodied arthropods, including aphids, caterpillars, beetle
larvae, and small slugs.
Delena spp, Holconia spp, Neosparass, US spp, Olios spp
• Come in a variety of colours and patterns but are mostly brown, black and grey.
• Some species are very large reaching over 160mm in leg span.
• The two back pairs of legs are shorter than the ones at the front and the legs fan out sideways enabling them to walk forwards and
sideways often giving them a crab-like appearance.
• The female Huntsman produces a flat, oval egg sac of whte papery silk and lays up to 200 eggs. She then places it under bark or a
rock and stand guard over it, without eating,for about three weeks.
• The appropriate time, the mother spider opens the egg sac to help her spiderlings out and she may stay with her spiderlings for
• The lifespan of most Huntsman species is about two years or more.
• Huntsman spiders are usually found on tree trunks, under bank, beneath stones or on the walls of houses. Some species are
extremely compressed and live between the hairline cracks of sandstone and granite outcrops.
• The huntsman eats a variety of insects, arthropods, small lizards and frogs. The prey is not captured in a web but actively stalked
and run-down with stealth and speed.
• Poisonous to humans but not fatal.
Trap Door Spider
• Often confused with the Funnel Web spiders the brown trapdoor can be distinguished by
its chocolate brown coloration, less robust body and the presence of distinct boxing
glove-shaped palps in the males (these are the appendages at the front of the head between
the first pair of legs).
• The body and legs are covered in tiny hairs.
• The female is around 35mm in length, while the male is usually around 20mm and
of a slimmer body.
• Male trapdoor spiders leave their burrows in search of a mate during humid weather.
The male dies shortly after mating with the female
• The eggs are kept in a cocoon
• After hatching the spiderlings stay in the burrow for some time and eventually
emerge to disperse and fend for themselves
• Trapdoor spiders dig a burrow in the ground that is lined with silk, though, despite their
common name, this species does not construct a lid. They use these burrows to raise their
young and for protection. Burrows may reach 250mm in depth and around 25mm in width.
Some of the trapdoor spiders dig simple, tube-like burrows, while others excavate additional
side tunnels for extra hiding places.
• Trapdoor spiders eat a variety of insects and other arthropods. The spider waits inside
• Bites are not fatal to humans, but local pain and swelling may occur
• Adult female: 21mm; male - 6mm. They are generally brown to grey in colour.
• Wolf spider mothers carry their egg sacs around with them attached to spinnerets under the abdomen.
• When the young spiderlings hatch, they climb onto their mother's back where they live for the first few weeks of life.
• They hunt at night but spend the day hidden amongst moss and decaying matter.
• They live in a shallow burrow, with an open and unadorned entrance.
Yellow Sac Spider
• Pale in colour, abdomen can be yellow or beige with a faint dark stripe running lengthwise.
• 6-9.5mm long
• 4 pairs of legs, the 1st pair longer than the 4th.
• Eight similarly-sized dark eyes arranged in two horizontal rows.
• A female produces around 5 egg sacs each with 30 to 48 eggs. The female may produce
several egg masses during her lifetime.
• Eggs are laid in Autumn
• Spiderlings emerge the following Spring.
• Approximately 30 percent of adult males get eaten by females after mating.
• Feeding - usually small insects.
• Location – They build a silken tube or sac (instead of a web) in a protected area which
is used as their daytime retreat.
• Externally this can be within a leaf or under logs; Indoors this can be or at the junction of
a wall and ceiling or behind pictures and shelves. They are normally outdoor spiders, but will
set-up indoors if there are small insects available. They are likely to enter homes during early
Autumn when their outdoor food supply decreases.
• Visibility - Adults can be seen from April through November. They emerge at night to
look for food. They drop to the floor to seek cover when disturbed.
• Bite - Their bite is sharp and painful and will cause erythema and swelling. A wheal may
develop, producing a necrotic area which can take eight weeks to heal. Pain or numbness at
the site of the bite may be followed by sweating and nausea lasting for up to 24 hours.
(Latrodectus indistinctus / Latrodectus geometricus) (also known as the ‘widow spider)
• The brown button spider is around 38mm in length, while the black button spider is
between 8-15mm in length.
• The black button spider, Latrodectus indistinctus, ranges from dark brown to black.
Dorsally the abdomen can be scattered with orange or red flecks or can be unmarked. As the
spider grows, the markings become undistinguished.
• The brown button spider, Latrodectus geometricus, varies from creamy yellow,
greyish-brown, to dark brown-black in colour, but always has dorsal cream to orange and brown
geometric patterns down the sides of the abdomen and characterised by the orange to red hourglass on
the ventral side of the abdomen.
• The difference between the two spiders are that the brown button spider can be identified by its orange
hour-glass marking on its underside, while the black button spider has the red stripe/s on the dorsal side at the end
of the abdomen.
• The female constructs her funnel-shaped web, usually close to the ground in bushes or under debris.
• The female produces more than one egg sac per season during the summer months and are attached with silk
to the side of the web.
• The brown button spider has a spiked egg sac, while the brown button spider’s is smooth.
• Spiderlings hatch after a week or more and one egg sac can contains over 100 spiders. They scatter by wind and
build their own webs.
• They undergo between 7-9 moults before reaching adulthood and can live between 1 – 1.5 years.
• The female frequently kills the male after mating, hence the common name "widow spiders".
• Button spiders are comb-footed spiders: they have bristles on their hind legs that they use to cover their prey with
silk once it has been trapped.
• This spider eats insects including flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, woodlice, centipedes,
millipedes as well as other spiders.
• Button prefer in quiet, dark places and seldom wander into houses. Most bites from button spiders occur when
the spider are disturbed in its hiding place.
• This spider is 8mm in length with legs that are 18mm long.
• Hence its name, this spider bears the dark violin-shaped marking on its carapace, and
its abdomen is flat and oval shaped.
• Adult violin spiders range from yellow to brown while younger spiders are
lighter in colour.
• The female violin spiders produce around 45 - 60 eggs from three to four egg sacs.
• Eggs take around a month to hatch, and young spiders reach maturity in a year.
• Violin spiders live for around 3 years.
• As Violin spiders prefer to roam around, their webs are usually constructed of a
few silk strands underneath rocks or in caves.
• These spiders are found in the savannah or areas where caves or mines are predominant.
• Violin spiders rarely bite and will only do so when provoked.
Scorpions (1100 Species)
• Adult - 12mm - 20cm. Colour varies with species, from yellow to black. Easily distinguished by their pincers and a long, segmented
tail bearing a stinger.
• Scorpions have a long gestation period (from 2-18 months). Each female bears 25-35 young which climb onto to the mothers back.
• They remain on her back for a week or two after birth. Once they climb down they are independent, and take two to six years to
• The average scorpion lives three to five years, but some species can live up to 10-15 years.
• Most scorpions are nocturnal.
• As well as in hot, dry areas, scorpions are found in grasslands, savannahs, caves and deciduous / mountain pine / rain forests.
• Scorpion venoms affect the victim’s nervous system. Each species has a unique mixture.
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