There are probably more than fifty thousand species of spiders on Earth. Some are a millimetre across the back while others are as big as an adult's hand.

Many spiders are helpful to people because they hunt and eat insects.  However, some spiders are dangerous to people. The red-back spider is one of those dangerous spiders.


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1.      Notes on the red-back spider.

2.      Fascinating facts


Did you know?

1.  The female red-back lays more than 200 eggs in a pale yellow egg sac.

2.  Red backs are very closely related to New Zealand's night stinger and America's

     black widow spider.

3.  Spiders don't have any bones, but they can have up to eight eyes.

The red-back in the picture at the top of this page is a female spider. Only the female has that red or orange mark on its black back. The males are much smaller and their body is a creamy brown colour.

Red-backs are found all across Australia. They like living around people, especially in warm, dry places around the home. They like letterboxes, meter boxes, dry corners in garages or amongst stones and pieces of wood.

Spiders are not insects. Insects have six legs. Each leg has three sections. Insects have three body parts, the head, abdomen and thorax. Insects have antenna, or feelers, and many have wings.

Spiders have eight legs. Each legs have seven segments. Spiders have two body parts. The cephalothorax is the head/thorax. The abdomen is the round part of a red-back's body. Spiders belong to the arachnid family. Other animals in this group are scorpions and ticks.

Red-backs make a messy web. They catch insects and flies. They even catch small lizards and mice. They can kill their prey with a poisonous bite. The bite can be very painful to people. After about twenty minutes, the bite will swell and the person starts sweating a lot. The victim might get a bad headache and start vomiting. A very small child can even die because of a red-back spider bite.

Ice packs help to stop the pain. A doctor can inject a drug to fight the poison. Luckily, red-back spiders don't often bite people.