These scary spiders dig holes in the ground to live in and to ambush the poor creatures that pass by them.
They can be found in two particular parts of the world and although they look very similar to another spider in Australia, they are not related to it.
In this article, you’ll discover some of the most interesting facts about the Mouse Spider, a fascinating creature for multiple reasons.
1. They are a member of a family of hairy spiders
Mouse spiders are members of the mygalomorph family, which includes other large, hairy spiders such as tarantulas and trapdoor spiders.
They are typically dark brown or black in color, and they have long, spiny legs and small, round bodies.
They are known for their burrowing habits, and they make tunnel-like burrows in the ground where they live and hunt.
These spiders are not considered to be dangerous to humans, but they can bite if they are provoked or threatened.
2. These are carnivorous creatures that hunt other insects and small mammals
Mouse spiders are carnivorous animals, and they feed on a variety of insects and other small animals.
Their diet typically includes a wide range of insects, such as beetles, flies, crickets, and grasshoppers and they may also occasionally eat small mammals.
This means that their diet can also include mice, shrews, and voles if they can catch them. They use their strong, spiny legs to dig burrows in the ground, and they use these burrows to hunt and ambush their prey.
These spiders have powerful venom that they use to kill and subdue their prey, and they use their fangs to inject this venom into their victims.
3. They live in large parts of Australia and also in South America
Mouse spiders are found in Australia and South America. In Australia, they are found in most parts of the country, except for the northernmost regions.
In South America, they are found in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. These spiders are primarily terrestrial animals, and they live in burrows that they dig in the ground.
They are found in a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands, and deserts. They are most commonly found in areas with moist soil, as this provides the ideal conditions for digging their burrows.
They are not typically found in urban or built-up areas (which is a good thing), and they are most commonly found in remote, natural environments.
4. How big are Mouse Spiders?
Spiders in the genus Missulena are small to medium-sized spiders, with adult females typically reaching body lengths of about 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters (0.59 to 0.98 inches).
Adult males are slightly smaller and can reach body lengths of about 1 to 1.5 centimeters (0.39 to 0.59 inches).
5. What do these spiders look like?
They are generally dark brown or black in color, with some species having a reddish or purplish tinge. Some species may have markings or patterns on their abdomen, but these can vary greatly among individuals.
Mouse spiders have compact and cylindrical bodies, with eight long, spindly legs. They have two main body segments, the cephalothorax (which bears the spider’s head and legs) and the abdomen.
They have eight eyes, arranged in two rows of four on the cephalothorax. They are often mistaken for other types of spiders, such as wolf spiders or jumping spiders, due to their similar size and appearance.
6. Just because they have 8 eyes doesn’t mean that they can see well
These spiders have eight eyes, arranged in two rows of four on the cephalothorax. The eyes are typically small and round and may be dark in color.
Mouse spiders, like many other spiders, have poor eyesight and rely more on their other senses, such as touch and vibration, to locate prey and navigate their environment.
7. Male and female mouse spiders differ significantly in appearance
Identifying female mouse spiders is quite difficult because they are completely black in appearance. They don’t have the colorful carapace or abdomen found in males.
This carapace and area on the abdomen in males can have a reddish or blueish color which makes it easy to distinguish them from other spider species.
8. They look very similar to another spider found in Australia
The appearance of mouse spiders is remarkably similar to that of the funnel web spiders found in Australia.
The Sydney Funnel-Web Spider is one of these that can be found in and around Sydney, New South Wales.
These have a body length of anywhere between 1 and 5 centimeters (0.4 and 2 inches), which s pretty much the same as mouse spiders.
The venom of the Australian funnel-spider is very potent and must be treated instantly. That’s why bites from mouse spiders should be considered as such initially.
9. There are 21 different types of mouse spider species
The first description of spiders in the genus Missulena was made by French scientist Charles Walckenaer (1771-1852) in 1805.
Multiple species have been added ever since. Today, there are 21 different species in this genus.
Remarkably, the “Missulena davidi” has only been added to this list in 2021, which means that there might be more coming soon.
10. They are venomous and can deliver a nasty bite
mouse spiders are venomous spiders and are considered to be potentially dangerous to humans, as their venom is toxic.
It can cause symptoms such as pain, swelling, and nausea. However, mouse spider bites are relatively rare, and severe reactions to their venom are uncommon.
If you think you have been bitten by a mouse spider, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.