The unco spider

This is a story of the most unusual event that I saw late in the afternoon this week.

I was wandering about with my camera as I watered the plants, just in case something interesting happens to appear in the garden, and had just finished watering the garden after a particularly warm day. Near the tap, I took a series of very bad photos due to the almost lack of sunlight and in the shade of the verandah.

On the verandah between a hanging pot of flowering Nodding Violets and a verandah post I saw this weird looking spider navigating its way along a series of almost invisible strands of web.

The spider didn’t look like it was in control of its own around 20mm long body and legs. It seemed to be trying to get to that white dot just above the spider in the following photo, after travelling from the shelter of the hanging flower pot with the most uncoordinated fashion with legs that went anywhere they wanted.

I had to discover what this spider was and found out that it is a Whip Spider.

“Whip Spiders specialise in feeding on wandering spiders, usually juveniles. The spider sits at the top of a few long silk threads that run downs below it among foliage.”

This description made Whip Spiders seem way more agile than my spider!

Almost there just a bit of “upside down and how did the hell did the “packet” end up underneath” bit of confusion was part of the entertainment as it literally bounced it’s way along the strands of web.

“When a wandering spider walks up one of these handy silk `bridges’ it gets a nasty surprise. The waiting Whip Spider uses toothed bristles on the end segment of the last leg to comb out swathes of entangling sticky silk from its spinnerets.”

“These rapidly entangle the struggling victim so that it cannot escape.”

The final goal was reached and the Whip Spider checked to see if any of the last meal was still available

I was just about to stop watching and taking photos when the Whip Spider started to fold its legs along side its body. I thought I would get that last photo in case that would help me ID the spider.

The best bit was that in that last photo, the spider had finished with the lovingly wrapped meal and just tossed it away. You can just make out the motion of the packet as it plummets to the ground.

*Information in italics from the Australian Museum


Species colubrinus
Genus Ariamnes
Family Theridiidae
Super Family Araneoidea
Order Araneae
Class Arachnida
Phylum Arthropoda
Kingdom Animalia

20 thoughts on “The unco spider

    1. It wasn’t all that hard as it has a weird body for a spider. My first search turned up Stick Insects. What didn’t it understand by the word spider!
      Glad you enjoyed seeing a Whip Spider 🙂

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