Huntsman spider moulting at Mt Burr Swamp – what a treat!

I know that spiders are not everyone’s favourite creatures but hope that many of you can bring yourselves to watch this short video of a Tasmanian Football Spider (Neosparassus patellatus) that I came across recently at Mt Burr Swamp. Initially I thought the spider was eating something, but I soon realised it was actually moulting! Like other arthropods, such as crustaceans, spiders don’t have an internal skeleton. Instead, they have an exoskeleon which doesn’t grow. As a spider’s body grows, it becomes too large for their exoskeleton, and they must shed it.

Spiders of the huntsman family, Sparassidae, to which the Tasmanian Football Spider belongs, are known to be quick and agile hunters. This species of Neosparassus was first described in 1878 by Ferdinand Karsch, a German arachnologist who described many species from around the world. Despite the name, the Tasmanian Football Spider is found in Victoria, south-eastern NSW, and eastern SA too. While adults are fawn with striking brown leg stripes, juveniles are bright green!
We hope you enjoy the video I captured of the moulting below.

Bryan Haywood