Sydney Brown Trapdoor Spider

Scientific Name: Misgolas rapax

Often confused with the funnel-web spiders, the brown trapdoor can be distinguished by its chocolate brown coloration, less robust body and the presence of distinct boxing glove-shaped palps in the males (these are the appendages at the front of the head between the first pair of legs). The body and legs are covered in tiny hairs. The female is around 35mm in length, while the male is usually around 20mm and of a more slimmer build. In contrast to the aggressive funnel-webs, trapdoors are usually shy and retiring, although the occasional individual will stand up and present its fangs if harassed.


Trapdoor spiders dig a burrow in the ground that is lined with silk, though, despite their common name, this species does not construct a lid. They use these burrows to raise their young and for protection. Burrows may reach 250mm in depth and around 25mm in width. Some of the trapdoor spiders dig simple, tube-like burrows, while others excavate additional side tunnels for extra hiding places.


Trapdoor spiders eat a variety of insects and other arthropods. The spider waits inside the burrow adjacent to the entrance, pouncing any prey that walks past, injecting it with its fast acting venom and then dragging the unfortunate victim back into the burrow.


Male trapdoor spiders leave their burrows in search of a mate during humid weather. The male dies shortly after mating with the female. The eggs are kept in the mother’s burrow in a cocoon. After hatching, the spiderlings stay in the burrow for some time and eventually emerge to disperse and fend for themselves.