David Bowie spider (Heteropoda davidbowie)

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Adult David Bowie spider amongst vegetation

Top facts

  • Contrary to popular belief, the David Bowie spider was not given its common name to raise awareness of its conservation and it is a common and widespread species.
  • The bright orange hairs on the body and legs of the David Bowie spider make it a very distinctive arachnid.
  • Heteropoda species such as the David Bowie spider are renowned for being excellent hunters.
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David Bowie spider fact file

David Bowie spider description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassArachnida
OrderAraneae
FamilySparassidae
GenusHeteropoda (1)

The red-brown body of the David Bowie spider (Heteropoda davidbowie) has a pattern of dark patches and lines and is covered in distinctive, bright orange hairs, which are also present on each of this spider’s appendages. The rear section of the body has a vivid red line along the centre, which is surrounded by similarly coloured hairs (2).

The underside of the David Bowie spider is black, as are its hairless mouthparts (2).

The female David Bowie spider is similar to the male in appearance, but its colour can vary between grey and red-brown and the ringed pattern on its legs is more conspicuous, with dark spots across the brighter areas. There are also six large red areas on the rear section of the upperside of the body (2). As with all spiders, it can be assumed that the female David Bowie spider is larger than the male (3).

The body of all species in the genus Heteropoda is almost as wide as it is long, and the upperside of the body is almost flat (4).

Size
Male length: 1.5 - 1.8 cm (2)
Female length: 2.1 - 2.5 cm (2)
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David Bowie spider biology

Members of the Heteropoda genus are usually very good hunters, with powerful mouthparts (4). As with all spiders it may be assumed that this species is carnivorous and its main prey is insects and other spiders (3).

All spiders begin life as eggs, which are usually enclosed in a silk egg sac to protect them from temperature fluctuations and parasites. Once hatched, young spiders undergo around 4 to 12 moults before becoming fully grown adults (3).

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David Bowie spider range

The David Bowie spider is found in western Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Sumatra, and may also inhabit parts of southern Thailand (2).

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David Bowie spider habitat

The adult David Bowie spider is usually found in trees, whereas the juvenile mostly lives on the forest floor within leaf litter, or on shrubs (2).

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David Bowie spider status

The David Bowie spider has yet to be classified by the IUCN.

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David Bowie spider threats

There are not currently thought to be any major threats to the David Bowie spider.

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David Bowie spider conservation

There are not known to be any specific conservation measures currently in place for the David Bowie spider.

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Find out more

Find out more are about the David Bowie spider:

  • Jäger, P. (2008) Revision of the huntsman spider genus Heteropoda Latreille 1084: species with exceptional male palpal conformations from Southeast Asia and Australia (Arachnida, Araneae, Spassidea, Heteropodinae). Senckenbergiana biologica, 88: 239-310.
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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Carnivorous
Feeding on flesh.
Genus
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
Moult
In insects, a stage of growth whereby the hard outer layer of the body (the exoskeleton) is shed and the body becomes larger.
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References

  1. Species 2000 and ITIS Catalogue of Life (August, 2012)
    http://catalogueoflife.org/
  2. Jäger, P. (2008) Revision of the huntsman spider genus Heteropoda Latreille 1084: species with exceptional male palpal conformations from Southeast Asia and Australia (Arachnida, Araneae, Spassidea, Heteropodinae). Senckenbergiana biologica, 88: 239-310.
  3. O’Toole, C. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Insects and Their Allies. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. Barrion, A.T. and Litsinger, J.A. (1995)Riceland Spiders of South and Southeast Asia. CAB International, Oxford.
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Image credit

Adult David Bowie spider amongst vegetation  
Adult David Bowie spider amongst vegetation

© Amir Ridhwan

Amir Ridhwan
B-6-10 Apt Sri Teratai
Bukit Jalil Highway
Puchong Jaya
47100
Malaysia
Tel: 0060 12 215 0704
amir.ridhwan@gmail.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/labah-labah

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