The Sydney funnel-web spider is the world’s most venomous spider, yearly causing up to 40 bites that would be fatal without antivenom. The production of anti-venom hinges on capturing mature males, but almost nothing is known about the biology or population structure of this species, and its taxonomy remains shaky — this deadly spider may be a complex of species. We will investigate the behaviour and population structure of the species using tracking technology and genetic analyses. We will also reveal how/when this spider interacts with humans, how far it disperses, and where significant populations are, helping reduce the number of accidents and increase the number of males captured for antivenom production; at the same time helping conserve this iconic species. Finally, we might discover cryptic species of Sydney funnel-webs, which can increase the efficiency of antivenom production, and we hope to inform and educate the public, arachnophobes and arachnophiles alike.
|Effective start/end date||1/10/19 → 30/09/20|