Scientists discover possible new funnel-web spider species near Jervis Bay

Katie Burgess
Published: September 8, 2015 – 8:52PM

Australian National University scientists have discovered a possible new species of funnel-web spider dwelling near Jervis Bay.

Biologists uncovered the unusually large specimen of the spider’s tree-dwelling genus Hadronyche while canvassing Booderee National Park.

The 50-millimetre female was burrowed inside a rotting log in a silk-lined nest up to two metres long.

Scientists estimate she is between 25 and 30 years old.

Further genetic and morphological analysis will be needed to determine whether it is a new species, but ANU biologist Dr Thomas Wallenius​ was pleased with the surprise find.

“It was unexpected that we’d find such a beautiful specimen,” Dr Wallenius said.

“While a lot of the fauna is quite well documented, the surveys on invertebrates [in the national park] haven’t been done as intensively so we’re currently working to see if the funnel-webs fit into current classifications.”

While the tree-dwelling funnel-web differs morphologically to its ground-dwelling Sydney cousin, Dr Wallenius said “both are quite dangerous”.

It is hoped by learning more about the biodiversity of the funnel-web populations in Jervis Bay, researchers will be able to ensure accurate identification and administration of antivenom in case of a bite.

The first funnel-web antivenom was developed in 1981 after scientist Struan Sutherland heard of the death of a seven-year-old girl who was bitten by a funnel-web near Jervis Bay.

More than three decades on, scientists still have much to learn about Australia’s most notorious spider.

The discovery is part of a wider biodiversity study of the area.

This story was found at:

arggghhh, not another Funnel Web, these spiders are one of the deadliest in Canberra. It is important that you know how to treat a funnel web spider bite with the correct first aid techniques.

Doing a first aid course in Canberra will make sure that you can complete the PIT for snake bites. We look forward to you joining one of our very popular first aid courses in Canberra soon.

Leave a Reply