by Gavin Powers
As far as the redback and the huntsman, and to a degree (perhaps) the white tail, your information is relaible. But the stuff about the daddy-long-legs is utter twaddle. I think you’re comparing the cranefly (in fact an insect, which CAN look threatening due to a seemingly sharp, but harmless ovipositor in females only and is found worldwide, with the Harvestman (Opiliones – closely related to spiders, but has no divide between abdomen and thorax, but still has eight legs). This too is found worldwide and is harmless. The only true arachnid in the group you seem to be pointing this ‘most venomous spider in the world, with fangs too small to bite you with’ argument at would have to be the cellar spider (pholcidae). This too is found worldwide – INCLUDING the UK. It is usually found in dark or undisturbed places in or outside the home and is, in fact, one of the commonest arachnids in the world. There is, admittedly, an argument about whether it can or can’t bite a human, but it hasn’t been proven either way and it is certainly not considered a fatal bite even if administered.
I think you’re on the wrong path with your advice to British expats there mate. Scaremongering about spiders is bugger all use. The redback IS dodgy, but no-one has died from its bite in Oz since the anti-venom was created in the 1950s.
The Sydney funnelweb and the large mouse spider are probably more significant (although there are anti-venoms for those too). The box jellyfish, however, is Australia (and the planet’s) most venomous animal. Now that IS one to warn people about. Sorry my post seems preachy and patronising, but I hate the bad press spiders get through ill-researched advice and hearsay!