CSL Antivenom Handbook

Some notable spiders & other arthropods

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The white tailed spider, Lampona cylindrata

The white tailed spider, Lampona cylindrata This common hunting spider, found in houses, has been linked with necrotic arachnidism, often tenuously. Experience with definite bites by this spider has generally been that both pain and local reactions were mild to moderate, with very few cases where ulceration developed. Venom research has failed to confirm that this spider damages skin. While the white-tailed spider cannot yet be excluded as a cause of necrotic arachnidism, there is no evidence to suggest that it is the major cause. Bites by organisms unknown, causing ulceration, should NOT be labelled as "white-tailed" spider bites.

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The black house spider, Badumna insignis

A robust black spider found in untidy webs with a tube retreat. Common in urban habitats. Its bite can cause moderate local pain, with erythema and swelling, and occasionally mild systemic symptoms. The black house spider ia a likely candidate for causing some cases of necrotic arachnidism.

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The huntsman spiders

There are many species, common inside houses, but bites are generally very mild, with short lived pain. A few species can occasionally also cause mild systemic symptoms, notably headache and nausea.

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The wolf spiders

Many species of these ground hunting spiders are common in gardens, sometimes entering houses. Few bites are recorded and on this limited evidence, it appears bites are minor.

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Orb weaving spiders

These common spiders, with many species, build "typical" spider webs in the garden at night. People walking into the web and crushing the spider against their body may be bitten, resulting in mild local pain and a small red lump, lasting about 24 hours. These spiders may also hide in clothing left outside overnight, on washing lines. The next person to put the clothing on may be bitten!

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Trapdoor spiders

Again, a number of species of robust, ground dwelling, burrowing spiders, with very large fangs. They are often dug up in gardens. Bites appear to cause surprisingly mild pain, given the spider's size, and no systemic problems.

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Mouse spiders

Ground dwelling spiders with large fangs, and venom which is reported to be more toxic than that of the funnel web spider (in tests involving mice). Apart from a single case from Queensland, all reported bites by these spiders have been minor. The Queensland case had some similarity to envenoming by a funnel web spider. There is a growing body of research suggesting that this spider could cause major envenoming, similar to that of the funnel-web spider, and is likely to be responsive to CSL Funnel Web Spider Antivenom, although this is not yet an approved indication.

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These have fangs and venom glands at the head end and bites may cause severe local pain. Infection sometimes occurs, which is occasionaly severe.


None of the many species of Australian scorpions is dangerous to humans but most cause intense local pain when they sting. This usually lasts only a short while, and systemic symptoms rarely occur and are never severe.


The most important ticks are those which cause paralysis, discussed under the section on tick antivenom. Many other ticks may bite humans causing a variety of local reactions, usually local irritation or pruritis. A few may sometimes cause a mild systemic illness, including malaise, nausea or headaches.

It should be noted that ticks do transmit a variety of diseases, both in Australia and overseas. A discussion of this problem is beyond the scope of this publication, but some of these tick borne diseases can be severe.