The White-tailed (or White-tipped) spider has a dull black, elongate body with a white spot at the end of the abdomen, and reddish legs. The female is up to 20mm long with a plump abdomen; the male is thinner and only about 12mm long. Young spiders have striped legs and 4 more white spots which fade with age. There is no permanent web.
Southern Australia including Tasmania. Common in some homes and other buildings. Natural habitat is under fallen timber and bark.
White-tails mature in summer. They do not live in a web but wander slowly in search of prey, which seems to be mostly other spiders. Females guard their eggs in a silken brood chamber in a dark, sheltered place. Spiderlings disperse on foot and hunt tiny prey independently.
The white-tailed spider has a bad reputation, but there is no proof that its bite causes long-term tissue damage. Most victims suffer only localised pain, redness and swelling which may last from a few hours to a few days, although in some cases the symptoms are more severe.
White-tails will shelter under almost anything including clothes left on the floor overnight and bedcoverings, a habit which gives rise to frequent bites. Avoid leaving clothes on the floor, and check under bedcoverings before getting into bed. Kill or evict any spiders seen wandering inside the house at night.
White Tail Spider