Image: Funnel-web Spider with phoretic mites

Funnel-web Spider with phoretic mites

This funnel-web spider (Hadronyche sp) was brought into the Australian Museum to be identified.  On closer inspection it was found to be infested with phoretic mites (the small brown dots covering the thorax (head)). Phoresy is where an animal attaches to another for transportation only.

Carl Bento
© Australian Museum
Australian Museum


These mites are deutonymphs (second instar nymphs) of some species of the family Acaridae. The deutonymph in these species is a non-feeding stage that functions only for dispersal. This morph is called a hypopus (plural hypopodes) and will be attached to the spider by a ventral sucker plate. They are not parasites.

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