Alice Springs Fauna •

Alice Springs SpidersAustralian Golden Orb Weaver Australian Huntsman Spiders (Sparassidae) Backobourkines Banded Garden Spider Beautiful Badge Huntsman (Neosparassus calligaster) Cytaea sp Desert Huntsman Spider Elegant Water Spider (Dolomedes facetus) Hackled Orb-weavers Hortophora sp Long-jawed Orb Weavers Long-tailed St. Andrew’s Cross Spider Lynx Spider (Oxyopidae) Miturgidae (Elassoctenus spp) Red-headed Mouse Spider Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti) Wall Spider (Oecobius sp)

A common spider, often found in urban environments (homes and backyards) is the Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti). This species of spider are found throughout Australia and is highly venomous.

Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti), Alice Springs NT
Female Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti), Alice Springs NT

The adult female Redback Spider has an almost spherical black body with a prominent red stripe-shaped mark, on the upper side of her abdomen and an hourglass shaped red mark on the underside. The colour can appear different (especially under different lighting) from a brown-red to red-orange colour.

Female Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti), Alice Springs, NT
Underside view of female Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti), Alice Springs, NT
Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti), Alice Springs NT
Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti), Alice Springs NT

The female spider have a body length of about 10 millimetres, whilst the male is smaller, being only 3–4 mm in length. In the following photography, you can see the larger female (with the prey) and in the background is the male Redback Spider.

Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti) with prey (bush cockroach), Alice Springs NT
Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti) with prey (bush cockroach), Alice Springs NT

The colour stripe and body of the Redback Spider can appear variable. This is usually found in the immature spiders, which can be pale brown in colour (especially when a spider has moulted).

Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti) extruded out of the spinneret, Alice Springs NT
Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti) extruded out of the spinneret, Alice Springs NT
Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti), Alice Springs NT
Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti), Alice Springs NT
Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti), Alice Springs, NT
Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti), Alice Springs, NT

The Redback Spider can often be found in an untidy web, often located in a sheltered location (in garden sheds, outdoor dunnies, under tables and chairs). They prey on a variety of insects, spiders and small vertebrates that are ensnared in its web. They have been documented catching lizards and small snakes. They incapacitate their prey by injecting a complex venom through its two fangs when it bites, then wrapping the prey in silk.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Infraorder: Araneomorphae
  • Family: Theridiidae
  • Genus: Latrodectus
  • Species: Latrodectus hasselti

Footnote & References

  1. Latrodectus hasseltii : Redback Spider, Atlas of Living Australia, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://biodiversity.org.au/afd/taxa/c7d8dbc8-dcde-4182-85ba-907182f95ea9
  2. Redback Spider, Australian Museum, https://australian.museum/learn/animals/spiders/redback-spider/
  3. Redback, Redback – The Find-a-spider Guide for the Spiders of Southern Queensland, http://findaspider.org.au/find/spiders/302.htm


Alice Springs SpidersAustralian Golden Orb Weaver Australian Huntsman Spiders (Sparassidae) Backobourkines Banded Garden Spider Beautiful Badge Huntsman (Neosparassus calligaster) Cytaea sp Desert Huntsman Spider Elegant Water Spider (Dolomedes facetus) Hackled Orb-weavers Hortophora sp Long-jawed Orb Weavers Long-tailed St. Andrew’s Cross Spider Lynx Spider (Oxyopidae) Miturgidae (Elassoctenus spp) Red-headed Mouse Spider Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti) Wall Spider (Oecobius sp)

Alice Springs FaunaAlice Springs Native Bees Alice Springs Beetles Alice Springs Birds Alice Springs Gastropods (Gastropoda) Alice Springs Insects Alice Springs Marsupials Alice Springs Reptiles Alice Springs Spiders

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