Learn more about spiders, their origins, and how they are classified.
Spiders and other arachnids
Spiders are ancient animals with a history going back many millions of years. They have always been with us, an ancient source of fear and fascination. They are abundant and widespread and are natural controllers of insect populations.
Spiders are arachnids not insects, but both spiders and insects belong to the largest group of animals on Earth, the arthropods (Ancient Greek: arthro = joint, podos = footed) - animals with hard external skeletons and jointed limbs.
The Australian Museum's Arachnology collection includes the largest collection of funnel-web spiders in Australia. Discover the sticky world of spiders and learn more about some of the most venomous spiders in the world in our factsheets and links to webpages below!
Learn more about spiders, their origins and how they are classified:
- What is a spider?
- Spider facts
- Spider origins
- Classifying spiders
- Spiders are everywhere
- Glossary of spider terms.
Read stories from our Arachnology Collection:
Find out how spiders feed, reproduce, develop and protect themselves:
Find out about dangerous spider species, the effects of their venom and how bites are treated on these factsheets
Discover the highly developed range of tools spiders use for sensing the world.
Spider Factsheets50 Fact Sheets in this section
Australian spiders image gallery
Australia's spiders come in a startling variety of colours, shapes and sizes. Some species make distinctive webs and many make silken retreats for protection or for their egg sacs and some even dig holes with elaborate silken triplines around the entrance. Here is a selection of images of Australian spiders to illustrate their diversity.