Glossy Red and black spider from Papua highlands
Location:  Tembagapura, Papua, Indonesia
October 2, 2010 10:08 pm
We see these small spiders with a red cephalothorax and upper half of legs and glossy black abdomen and lower half of legs around the house here in the highlands (2500 meters) in Papua, Indonesia. Any ideas what they are?
Signature:  Kevin

Red and Black Spider from Indonesia

Dear Kevin,
This is one awesome looking spider.  We want to GUESS that this might be a Cobweb Spider in the family Theridiidae, the same family that includes such black and red poisonous spiders as the Black Widow from North America and the Red Back Spider from Australia.  Red and Black are codified warning colors in the insect and bug* worlds, and that warning is generally poison.  We hope our readership will come to our rescue with the name of this begloved she-beauty.

* Ed. Note: Bugs are loosely defined as “Thing That Crawl” in Daniel’s new book The Curious World of Bugs.

Spider from Papua

Update
Hi Daniel,
Thanks – I think you steered me in the right direction.  I’m going to guess this is in the Nicodamidae family which was split out of the family Theridiidae (according to what I can find on some Aussie web sites) about 15 years ago.  The Australian Red and Black spider (not to be confused with the Red Back) looks almost identical to mine and is a member of this family.
This one has a body length of 8mm, and from what I can tell looking at pictures would appear to be a female.
Regards,
Kevin

Thanks for writing back Kevin.  As you did not provide a link, we searched and found the family Nicodamidae on the Spiders of Australia website and there were photos of Nicodamus peregrinus, which looks very close to your specimen.  The webpage indicates Nicodamus peregrinus can be found in Eastern Australia, and that “The family Nicodamidae consist of nine genera with 29 descibed species, all living in Australia, one in New Guinea and one in New-Zealand.”  The Esperance Fauna website also devotes nice coverage to the family Nicodamidae.

Sorry for not including the links – yes, those were the sites I found most helpful also.
Cheers,
Kevin

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