Legs, Fangs and Claws

South Australian Museum

Arachnids comprise the fascinating eight-legged terrestrial invertebrates and include spiders, scorpions, pseudoscorpions, harvestmen, ticks and mites. The arachnology collection at the South Australian Museum contains around 300,000 specimens in these groups as well as many centipedes and millipedes (Myriapoda).

Black and golden wolf spider
A striking black and golden wolf spider species that is common throughout the Australian arid zone. This beautiful female specimen was dug from her burrow and photographed on a recent field trip west of Tarcoola, South Australia.
Red-headed mouse spider
This is a species of red-headed mouse spider in the family ACTINOPODIDAE. They are recognisable by the widely spaced eye arrangement across the head region, the steeply raised cephalothorax and of course the striking red chelicerae of the males of some species. These spiders live out their entire lives inside a burrow. The large black females are rarely seen but males are encountered in the winter months when they leave their burrows to search for females. There are presently three species recorded for South Australia but it is likely more will be discovered with modern research techniques.
Red velvet mite
A red velvet mite from the family TROMBIDIIDAE. Their name derives from the velvety appearance of their body which is densely covered in minute hairs. As adults they are free living predators but as larvae they are ectoparasites of insects. The Australian fauna is very poorly known and this is most likely one of the many undescribed species.
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Research scientists and students in this group investigate the fascinating world of arachnids which includes spiders, scorpions, ticks and mites. The Museum’s Arachnology Collection comprises more than 300,000 specimens and is referred to extensively by Australian as well as international research scientists. It provides geographical information that informs surveys as well as holotype and voucher specimens that are used for morphological and molecular analysis.

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