Letter | Published:

The Presence of a Stridulating Organ in a Spider

Abstract

WHILST spending a short time at Alice Springs, in Central Australia, during the course of last year, in connection with the Horn Scientific Expedition, I found that it was firmly believed by a considerable number of people, white men and natives alike, that a spider existed in Central Australia which made a booming noise at night. Thanks to the assistance of the blacks, the spider itself was easily captured, but I could detect no organ capable of producing a booming sound. The animal forms a tubular burrow, about three-quarters of, or an inch, in diameter, which passes down for some eighteen to twenty-four inches in a slightly slanting direction until it terminates in a small chamber capable of holding the animal comfortably. In this chamber are found fragments of beetles upon which the animal has preyed, and a certain amount of web material; but there is no regular lining to the tube or chamber. The spider, which may reach a length of two and a half inches, and a span across the legs of five inches, proves to be Phrictis crassipes, belonging to the tribe Territelariæ to which also belongs the well-known Mygale.

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