Scotophaeus blackwalli
(Mouse Spider)

Taxonomic Hierarchy

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Suborder: Araneomorphae
  • Family: Gnaphosidae
  • Genus: Scotophaeus
  • Species: Scotophaeus blackwalli

Other Common Names

Mouse Spider, Stealthy Ground Spider, Ground Spider

Author

Tamerlan Thorell, 1871

Pronunciation

skoh-toh-FEE-us black-WALL-eye

Identification Traits

Disclaimer: The following table provides a quick overview of the spider's basic attributes. The physical traits are greatly generalized in order to aid in the identification and sorting of spider species using our search feature. This information is not exhaustive, and keep in mind that traits such as color, markings, and overall size and shape can vary widely within a species due to variables such as the spider's age, gender, diet, hydration level, climate, and habitat. Though experienced arachnologists and hobbyists can often classify spiders rather accurately based on their unique markings and general appearance, it's important to know that scientifically accurate spider identification relies on detailed taxonomic keys and microscopic examinations of a spider's reproductive organs.

Female iconFemale Male iconMale
Body size More information icon 9mm - 12mm 6mm - 9mm
Eye count 8
Primary Colors
Identifying Traits Fuzzy or hairy appearance, Patternless, Visible spines on legs, Legs solid color, Short legs, Long spinnerets
Web style Retreat or silken sac


Additional Remarks

  • Important note: there are dangerously venomous mygalomorph (primitive) spiders in the genus Missulena, family Actinopodidae, that are also nicknamed “Mouse Spiders.” They are found in Australia and one species in Chile and, aside from also being spiders, don’t have much in common with the relatively innocuous Scotophaeus blackwalli.
  • The abdomen appears velvety and soft, and the spider often runs in quick “starts-and-stops,” similar to a mouse along the perimeter of a room; this is likely where the nickname “Mouse Spider” comes from.
  • Spider is fast, agile, and difficult to catch, let alone photograph.
  • Female chooses a safe, dark place to deposit her eggs and builds a silken “chamber” around herself. Within the chamber, she attaches a thin disc of silk to a flat surface. She then deposits her eggs onto the center of it and finishes off by covering them all with a thicker layer of silk about 10-12 millimeters in diameter. Contains anywhere from 50-130 eggs.
  • Sometimes scavenges already dead insects. The British naturalist and arachnologist, W. S. Bristowe, remarked that he knew of several cases where lepidopterists had caught the spiders eating their pinned specimens during the night (Bristowe 1958).

Featured Pictures

Picture of Scotophaeus blackwalli (Mouse Spider) - Eyes Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Scotophaeus blackwalli (Mouse Spider) - Female - Dorsal Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Scotophaeus blackwalli (Mouse Spider) - Female - Eyes Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Scotophaeus blackwalli (Mouse Spider) - Female - Dorsal Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Scotophaeus blackwalli (Mouse Spider) - Female - Dorsal Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Scotophaeus blackwalli (Mouse Spider) - Female - Dorsal Enlarge picture icon
  • Check iconFamily Check iconGenus Check iconSpecies
  • Submitted Calendar iconJun 15, 2016
  • Photographed Picture iconSep 13, 2008
  • Copyright icon Michael E. Talbot
  • SpiderID
    spiderid (Submitted by)
  • Sex icon
    Female
  • Location iconLincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
  • Comment icon0 Comments
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Picture of Scotophaeus blackwalli (Mouse Spider) - Female - Gravid Enlarge picture icon
  • Check iconFamily Check iconGenus Check iconSpecies
  • Submitted Calendar iconJun 15, 2016
  • Photographed Picture iconMay 31, 2012
  • Copyright icon Magnus Hagdorn
  • SpiderID
    spiderid (Submitted by)
  • Sex icon
    Female
  • Location iconEdinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • Comment icon0 Comments
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Picture of Scotophaeus blackwalli (Mouse Spider) - Spiderlings Enlarge picture icon
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