Missulena is a genus of spiders that are often known as mouse spiders. They are found throughout Australia and are quite common in towns and cities across the Sunshine Coast. Mouse spiders are venomous and can be aggressive, so it is important to know what they look like and how to avoid them.

 

Identification

Mouse spiders are medium to large spiders that are generally 1-3 cm long. They are stout, sturdy spiders with glossy abdomens that can be black, dark blue, or black with a grey patch. Their heads are also shiny and are often black, but can sometimes be bright red. The redheaded mouse spider is especially bold in its coloring with a deep red head and a dark, royal blue abdomen.

 

mouse spider

Male missulena occatoria spider by Peripitus / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

 

Mouse spiders look similar to funnel-webs and other trapdoor spiders, but when viewed from the bottom, the mouse spider’s fangs tend to cross at the tips, while other trapdoor spiders have fangs that are parallel when closed.

 

Behavior

Mouse spiders live in burrows and will cover them with a trapdoor. There they lay in wait for their prey, mostly insects or small animals. Many of these burrows can be found in lawns or open ground areas. The trapdoor can be very camouflaged, so people tend to encounter these spiders unexpectedly when they are turning dirt while gardening. You may also find mouse spiders in swimming pools because they fall in when searching for a mate. April and May tend to be the most common months to encounter mouse spiders. 

Mouse spiders are aggressive if they are disturbed. They will quickly rise to a striking position and can deliver a painful bite. There are many disagreements on how dangerous mouse spiders are because they have venom that compares in toxicity to funnel-webs, but envenomations tend to be very rare. Researchers conclude that this is likely because many of the bites are dry bites. Serious symptoms can occur, however, so care should be taken to avoid mouse spiders. Luckily, funnel-web antivenom has been proven an effective treatment for serious bites.

 

Spider Control

If you have mouse spiders around your yard or home, caution should be exercised when gardening or working in the lawn area. You should also make sure that the exterior of your home is sealed so that they cannot enter. If spiders or any other household pests are bothering you, regular pest control treatments can help control them. Contact the professionals at Radar Pest Control today to receive an inspection and a customized plan to take care of the pests around your home. For Sunshine Coast pest control, you can trust Radar to get the job done right!