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Redback Spider



The redback spider can be found across all parts of Australia and will live anywhere there is adequate food, a sheltered area for its web and is warm enough for breeding.  They are especially common in disturbed and urban areas. The Redback Spider is easily recognised by its black body with a prominent red hourglass shape on its abdomen.


Redback spiders are one of the most dangerous species of spiders in Australia!



Scientific Name

Latrodectus hasselti


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Arachnida

Order: Araneae

Family: Theridiidae

Genus: Latrodectus

Species: L. hasselti


  • The female is about 1cm in length
  • The male can range from 3-4mm in length
  • The female red-back is black (sometimes brown) with a distinctive red or orange marking on its back
  • Markings may be broken into spots in front
  • White lines may be visible
  • The female can grow up to 15mm long.
  • Males are very small and usually only grow up to 5mm long
  • The male has more complex markings than those of the female
  • White and yellow markings May also be seen on the male


  • Can be found in logs or under rocks
  • They tend to reside in dark, dry areas.
  • They can also be seen in roof eaves floorboards, toilets, shelves, flower pots, garages or sheds
  • Their web is a triangle shape of dry silk
  • Trap lines are sticky which assist in catching prey
  • Redback spiders are carnivorous eating almost any small insects that are caught in their webs.
  • They are known to also eat skinks and even juvenile mice, snakes and frogs
  • The redback spider rarely leaves its web


  • Female maturity happens between 2-3months
  • She can lay 3-8 egg sacs between September and May
  • Each sac can contain up to 300 eggs
  • The female can lay up to 5000 eggs!
  • The eggs hatch within 13-15 days
  • Most of the hatchlings do not survive because they are eaten by their siblings
  • prone to wasp parasitism
  • Females may live for two to three years
  • Males only live for about six or seven months
  • The females consumes the male after eating
  • The male makes his consumption easier by rolling over and laying in front of her mouth
  • This process is known as sexual cannibalism


  • Redback bites occur frequently
  • Bites are common during the summer months
  • Only the female bite is dangerous
  • Their bites are fatal
  • Symptoms of a redback spider bite include sweating, local swelling, muscular weakness, nausea and vomiting

If bitten

  • Do not apply pressure bandage
  • Apply ice pack
  • Seek urgent medical assistance
  • Collect spider for identification
  • Antivenom is available