What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Web spinning huntsman
October 26, 2009
Web spinning huntsman
We get these around outside and inside our house (Queensland, Australia.) They look like male huntsman spiders, and are more active at night, but they also weave massive webs from time to time (between trees) with a very thick fiber. This one came out of my downpipe this morning and bit my arm, self defence I expect, the bite is not serious, just two red dots. Card is in the photo for scale, its the size of a regular credit card.
Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Giant Gray Huntsman Spider

Gray Huntsman Spider

Hi Dylan,
We are nearly certain this is a Giant Gray Huntsman Spider,
Holconia immanis, which we initially identified on the Geocities Brisbane Insect Website.  We continued to search for information once we had the scientific name.  A website called the Australian Natural History Safari Website that appears to be run by individuals as opposed to being associated with a scientific organization indicates “The Grey Huntsman does not build a web and is found along the east coast of Australia. They are most active in the summer months and are often encountered in houses, gardens and forested areas. This spider does not bite readily and if it does the pain is mild and local to the bite area.”  A scientific paper written by Klaus Henle from the 1993 Journal of Arachnology that is posted online indicates:  “Both species are typical sit-and-wait foragers.Adult H. immanis seem to have 1-2 preferredambush sites where most individuals were ob-served on many consecutive nights up to a period of 6 months.”   Another Australian Insect website that cites Henle’s observations indicates:  “Habitat  Huntsman spiders are found throughout the east coast of Australia. They do not build webs, and are usually found under bark or ivy or other such sheltered plants. They can also seek shelter inside houses. Diet  Typically Huntsman spiders are described to be sit-and-wait foragers where they ambush their prey, often choosing favourite ambush sites (Henle, 1993).” The Insects of Townsville, Australia website built by Graeme Cocks has wonderful photographs.  Since all the information we have been able to locate indicates that this species does not build webs, your observations are most interesting.  All spiders can spin silk, but Hunting Spiders generally do not build webs as snares.  If you are able to photograph this species with its web, please send us documentation in a followup email.  It is possible that the Grey Huntsman Spider uses a silken line to move from tree to tree, but that it does not build an actual web.

Gray Huntsman Spider

Thanks Daniel.
I will keep an eye out for any webs. It happens rarely enough that I think it may be a mating or nesting thing. I’ve seen one wrap a palm frond in silk to make a kind of hide, then tie off the frond to our garage gutter. If I ever see it again, I will take some photos.
Dylan Tusler.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Queensland, Australia

6 Responses to Grey Huntsman Spider from Australia

  1. Leon says:

    Grey huntsmans Don’t build a web they are forages you are proberly thinking of orb weavers … [edited for content]

    • bugman says:

      Dear Leon,
      Thank you very much for all your comments and corrections on the Huntsman Spiders in our archives. This particular comment arrived in duplicate, [edited for content] though we don’t understand if you are addressing our editorial staff or Dylan who submitted the images claiming that this particular spider spins webs. We have made it abundantly clear that we are not experts here at What’s That Bug? and our primary mission is to promote an appreciation and tolerance of the lower beasts as we attempt to identify the numerous “bugs” that are submitted to our site from all over the world. We are artists and we have no formal entomology training nor any formal background in the natural sciences for that matter. We have always been, and we continue to be a pop culture site, and we have no formal affiliation with experts or science institutions, though we often request assistance from specialists within the field. Perhaps we are just being overly sensitive, but when you write: “get some sense into you and listen to the experts,” and then you write it a second time for emphasis, we can’t help but feel that you are addressing us and it feels like a personal attack. [edited for content] and often when people put things in writing the true intentions can be misunderstood. We don’t know which experts you are directing us to listen to. Are you perhaps an expert? You did not list any credentials when you submitted the comments. We thought we made it very clear in our original response to Dylan that Huntsman Spiders do not spin webs to snare prey, but we did not totally discount the possibility that they might use the silk they are capable of producing for other purposes, like shelter and transportation. Thanks again for your comments.

  2. Leon says:

    Ok I’ve kept a lot of these sp they do indeed build a silken chamber under bark and leavs but they don’t spend a web never in my keepings have they done that

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