Comb-footed Platform Spider, Nihonhimea mundula Click to enlarge image
Comb-footed Platform Spider, Nihonhimea mundula Image: Mike Gray
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    mundula
    Genus
    Nihonhimea
    Family
    Theridiidae
    Infraorder
    Araneomorphae
    Order
    Araneae
    Class
    Arachnida
    Subphylum
    Chelicerata
    Phylum
    Arthropoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    5 mm - 8 mm
  • Habitats
    woodland
  • Life history mode
    arboreal
  • Feeding Habits
    arthropod-feeder, carnivorous, insectivorous

Introduction

The Comb-footed Platform Spider is named both for the comb-like structure of its feet and its platform web.


What do Comb-footed Platform Spiders look like?

Identification

The Comb-footed Platform Spider has a striking patchwork colour pattern, but is best recognised by its moderately large, distinctive web with a leaf detritus retreat.


Where do Comb-footed Platform Spiders live?

Habitat and distribution

The Comb-footed Platform Spider is common in bushland and gardens in eastern Australia.


What do Comb-footed Platform Spiders eat and how do they mate?

Feeding and diet

When insects fly into the 'knockdown' network of threads of the Comb-footed Platform Spider's retreat, they fall through onto a silk sheet where they are seized by the spider.

Other behaviours and adaptations

The Comb-footed Platform Spider is not as specialised a retreat builder as the leaf-curling orb weavers; however a curled leaf may be used, or some leaf detritus may be loosely silked together. The retreat is placed in the centre of a network of threads spun above a horizontal, close-meshed silk sheet. These webs are usually built among understorey shrubs and low trees and are often seen in overgrown gardens.


Nihonhimea mundula
Nihonhimea mundula (Theridiidae) Sheet web with leaf retreat above. Previously Achaearanea mundula then Parasteatoda mundula Image: Mike Gray
© Australian Museum

Breeding behaviours

The egg sacs are placed inside the Comb-footed Platform Spiders' silk retreat.

Predators

The complex webs of the Comb-footed Platform Spider harbour a range of other animals, from small moth larvae that scavenge along the silk lines to spiders that find prey in the outer parts of the web. Some of these are small prey stealers of the genus Argyrodes. However, they include one species that is a specialist predator on N. mundula. Argyrodes incursus is a small, jet black spider with a single red spot on its abdomen. Somehow, the smaller spider kills the larger N. mundula and eats it, finally making its own egg sac within the dead host's retreat.