Mouse Spider Facts
- First of all, the term Mouse Spider names a genus of spiders containing 13 known species. Further, all but one of these evolved as endemic to one continent. The lone exception remains native to Chile, in South America.
- Also, the common name of the genus appears to be due to an old belief. People once thought that this genus of arachnid dug burrows like a mouse. But research has proven the fallacy of that particular belief.
- In addition, these spiders are also venomous, though the exact degree of toxicity remains unclear. That occurs partly because envenomings rarely occur. Finally, in the few recorded cases of bites by this genus of spider, funnel-web spider antivenom has proven effective.
Mouse Spider Physical Description
Perhaps most notably, all known varieties of Mouse Spider appear to be medium-sized spiders. The various species therefore range in size from about 0.4-1.2 in (1-3 cm), and the head grows comparatively large and broad.
In addition, the carapace has a distinct sheen in most members of the genus. Also, all known varieties of this type of spider exhibit sexual dimorphism.
Further, in the case of the Mouse Spider, this trait presents itself in the coloring. Due to this, the females stay all black in color. But the males present a variety of color patterns, dependent upon the exact species. In most, these other colors consist principally of shades of either red or blue.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Araneae
- Family: Actinopodidae
- Genus: Missulena
Mouse Spider Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Firstly, the amazing and surprisingly versatile and adaptable Mouse Spider has an interesting distribution range. That’s because all but the one species native to the country of Chile inhabit the continent of Australia.
The species have all proven adaptable to a wide variety of habitats. Rather similar to trapdoor spiders, it feeds as an ambush predator. Further, it lives in burrows covered with a trapdoor, that can be a deep as 12 in (30 cm).
Like most spiders, it also feeds primarily on insects. Yet, its venom remains powerful enough to allow it to occasionally feed on small animals. However, this rarely happens, as it prefers the smaller prey.
In addition, its own predators consist principally of bandicoots, wasps, centipedes, and scorpions. Finally, the males will wander in search of mates, yet the female Mouse Spider rarely leaves the burrow.