- Juvenile female
- Female 8710 Canberra from above
- Female 8710 Canberra from below
- Female subadult Canberra from above
Mature female Redbacks have a black pea shaped body to about 10mm with a prominent red stripe on the abdomen and slender legs. The male is smaller, to about 4mm. The web is a disorganised, irregular tangle of silk with a funnel-like retreat. Males mature on average in 90 days, females about four months. The male has been found to actively assist the female in sexual cannibalism. In the process of mating, he somersaults to place his abdomen over the female's mouthparts and is consumed while still mating. Webs are usually built in dry, sheltered sites, around houses. The bite causes pain and has been fatal in the past but no deaths have been reported since the introduction of antivenom in 1956. The symptoms are extreme pain and severe sweating, nausea, feeling sick. See a doctor immediately if these symptoms occur and a bite is suspected. Numbers in Brisbane have declined, possibly due to the Asian House Gecko. The scientific name is in honour of van Hasselt a colleague of Thorell who described it in 1870.