barychelidae

#468 - Giant Brushfooted Trapdoor Spider

This photo got sent to me by my boss, who’d found it posted on his neighborhood’s social board, in Perth’s northern suburbs. It took me a chain of contacts, but happily Robert Raven at the Queensland University IDed it as a female Idiommata blackwalli, one of the giant brushfooted trapdoors (Fam. Barychelidae)

He sent me a good deal of information about them too - Idiommata includes some of the world’s largest spiders, the males are known as Silverbacks, and while they have maxillary lyra on their mouthparts, it’s not known if their hiss is loud enough to be heard by humans. Like most Barychelids, they dig burrows, which come in a variety of forms and have an entrance lined with leaves, a plug, or a door.

The Barychelids are distinguished from other Australian mygalomorphs by having adorably fuzzy toes and short stumpy spinnerets.

There are no studies of Barychelid venom, and bites are recorded for only four species. No serious effects have been noted, beyond local pain and some swelling.

Brushfooted Trapdoor Spider, Idiommata sp.

I found several of these roaming sandy areas in both the coastal and inland scrub within Kalbarri National Park.

“The genus Idiommata remains taxonomically fairly poorly known. It includes some of the largest representatives of the family Barychelidae.” - Volker Framenau (Flickr entry)