Open range hunters

Open range hunters are more evolved than the primitive spiders and are actually the first group of the modern spiders. However, they still don't use intricate webs for catching flying prey. They are a very large group, consisting of over 850 species in 32 families nationwide.


Giant water spider
Photographer: Dr Robert J RavenGiant water spider

Wandering through creeks and streams is the best way to find the giant water spider (Megadolomedes australianus). It is often seen sitting on rocks in the middle of a stream, waiting to grab small passing fish from the water below. Its legs are very spindly and long, giving the spider an overall size greater than the palm of the average person's hand. The water spider has a mottled appearance which allows it to blend in well with the granite based rocks of the area. The female weaves a very large egg sac (about 25mm in diameter) which is carried in the fangs by the female until almost ready to hatch. She then builds a framework for the sac in the bush and guards it by sitting on it - hence the spider's other common name of nursery spider.


Green jumping spider

Green jumping spider Green Jumping Spider(Mopsus mormon)
Photographer: UnknownThere are over 300 species of jumping spiders in Australia and all of them are small - the biggest is only 18mm. The tropical species can be quite colourful and attractive, like the green jumping spider (Mopsus mormon).

The green jumping spider is sexually dimorphic - in other words, the males look different to the females. Males have a teardrop shaped lime green abdomen but they are dark brown or black in the front part of the body and legs. Their head is crowned with tufted white hairs, giving their face a monkey-like appearance. The females are also green but over the whole body. The legs are paler green and the face is a mottled pattern of white and brown. Jumping spiders feed with deadly accuracy, eyeing their prey and then jumping on it to subdue it. They are harmless spiders to humans, but bites are often recorded. They can be found in backyard gardens from Brisbane to Cooktown.

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