Tailed Forest Spider (Arachnura feredayi)
Species: A. feredayi
Binominal name: Arachnura feredayi
Common name: Tailed Forest Spider, Golden brown-tailed spider, Scorpion-tailed spider.
Arachnura feredayi is a native spider found in New Zealand and in Australia and Tasmania. This native spider is one of 13 spiders in the genus Arachnura. It inhabits forests and gardens in both the North and the South Islands of N.Z.
Arachnura feredayi builds an orbweb which is usually constructed close to the ground. The female is an unusual looking spider with a body length of about 18 mm. She has a distinctive, long extended, yellow-brown abdomen that looks like a tail. This tail can be waved about and gives predators the impression it is a leaf moving in the wind.
Arachnura feredayi females have rounded shoulders and their tail is stubbier than Arachnura higginsi, another exotic Arachnura, which is occasionally blown here from Tasmania. There can be occasional colour variations of this spider.
The spinnerets (organs through which the silk is produced) are located about halfway along the ventral side of the abdomen.
The female lays eggs in several long vertical egg cases which hang in a V-shaped area at the top of the web, looking like twigs. The female is usually seen upside down under her egg cases.
The male of this species has no tail and is tiny with a body length of only 1 mm.
The spiders of the Arachnura species conserve the silk proteins of their webs by eating their old webs before building a new one. By radioactive labelling the silk of old webs it has been observed that silk is recycled into a new web within 30-40 minutes of ingestion.
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