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M. occatoria, male
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Mygalomorphae
Clade: Avicularioidea
Family: Actinopodidae
Simon, 1892

3, see text

3 genera, 124 species

Actinopodidae is a family of mygalomorph spiders found in mainland Australia and South America usually in open forest. Species are most common in Queensland, Australia.[1] It includes mouse spiders (Missulena species), whose bites, though rare, are considered medically significant and potentially dangerous.[2]


Actinopodidae has wider vision then most other Australian mygalomorphs and have a wide front to their carapace.[3] Members of the family are stout black with species size varying from 10 mm-35 mm in length. Species have distinctively bulbous heads and jaw regions. They are oftentimes confused with funnel-web spiders. Depending on the species, the abdomen is black or dark blue with a light grey to white patch top. Legs are dark and may appear thin and the head is shiny black. Female of the family are stockier and larger.[4]


They live in soil covered burrows with a hinged top. Burrows can extent to a depth of 30 cm (12 inches). The purpose of the burrow is for refuge from predators, temperature control and parasites. Male spiders will wander away from the burrow in search for female spiders for mating while females stay in the burrow for most of their life.[5]


Species of Actinopodidae are ambush hunters that lie in their burrow lid at night preying on insects that are within catching range.


As of April 2019, the World Spider Catalog accepts the following genera: [6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Museum, c=AU; co=Queensland Government; ou=Queensland. "Mouse Spiders". Retrieved 2022-05-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Isbister, Geoffrey K. (2004). "Mouse spider bites (Missulena spp.) and their medical importance". Med J Aust. 180 (5): 225–227. doi:10.5694/j.1326-5377.2004.tb05890.x. S2CID 37977034.
  3. ^ "ACTINOPODIDAE Mouse Spiders". Retrieved 2022-05-12.
  4. ^ "Mouse Spiders". The Australian Museum. Retrieved 2022-05-12.
  5. ^ "Mouse Spider - Facts, Venom & Habitat Information". Retrieved 2022-05-12.
  6. ^ "Family: Actinopodidae Simon, 1892". World Spider Catalog. Natural History Museum Bern. Retrieved 2019-04-18.

External links[edit]