Christmas Spider Amanda Solly

Christmas Spider

Austracantha minax

Did You Know?

  • Unlike many orb-weaving spiders, you can find it in the web during the day
  • Can be found anywhere on the web which it does not destroy at dawn as some other Araneid species do
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The Christmas Spider is known by several other names, most commonly Jewel Spider but also as Six Spined Spider or Spiny Spider.

Females have bright yellow and white patterns with a ring of black spines. Melanic females have the same shape but may be completely black. Males have smaller spines and have a yellow, brown, white and black pattern. Six spines protrude from the sides and bottom end of the abdomen.

Size

Females are larger at 7 mm, males are 4 mm.

Behaviour

Diet

Opportunistic, insects.

Movement

Females sit in the middle of the web. Males can often be found in the vegetation around the perimeter of the web. Often in aggregations in which many webs are supporting each other.

Breeding

Eggs sacs are red-brown, and can be a variety of shapes. They are usually attached to a twig near the web.

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What to Observe

  • How many Females

  • Number of Males on the web

  • Egg sacs in web

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When and Where

When To Look

November to February; can sometimes be seen from November to May.

Where To Look

  • Look around dry eucalypt forest
  • Check around the web of the females to find males waiting for a chance of copulation
  • Its web is usually not far from the ground, often being attached to shrubs or fences
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What Else?

Similar Species

The Spiny-backed Spider (Gasteracantha sacerdotalis or Thelacanta brevispina) is a very similar species with a white pattern on darker surface of the abdomen.