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Sydney funnel-web spider

Sydney funnel-web spider
Scientific classification
Phylum: Arthropoda
Binomial name
Atrax robustus
The Sydney funnel-web spider, also called a funnel-web tarantula, (Atrax robustus) is a strong candidate for the most dangerous spider in the whole world. Examination of bite records seems to indicate that wandering males have almost always caused the fatal bites. The female venom seems to be only about a sixth as potent to humans as that of the male. It has been said that until the development of antivenin no one survived the bite of an adult male, however this may be misleading as we have no way of being sure that all bites were reported. The bite of a male is certainly a cause for grave concern, however. The venom is known to cause death in three and half-hours to three days.

The genus Hadronyche also has similar highly venomous spiders, especially the Blue Mountains Funnel-web (Hadronyche versuta).

These spiders construct a funnel shaped web and lurk for prey in the small end of the funnel. They frequently search for a place to nest under human dwellings, or under nearby rocks, logs, or other similar objects. They are most active at night. They are not extremely large, the largest being about 40 mm long, but they bite repeatedly and in a very aggressive manner. Most bites seem to occur when the male spiders wander about looking for receptive female Sydney funnel-web spiders. Male spiders are often found in swimming pools, where they have been trapped after falling in, in yards, and in garages. An antivenin has been available since 1980.


Main, Barbara York. 1976. Apiders. Collins, Sydney, Australia. McKeown, Keith C. 1952. Australian Spiders. Angus and Robertson, Sydney, Australia.

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