This weekend I went on a bush walk with a group of keen local walkers in the Yandoit area. A sunny September day, and we were surprised to see a small but fearsome spider walking determinedly out in the open along the track.
After returning home and consulting Spiders of Bendigo by the Bendigo Field Nats, I was excited to read that this fella was a male red-headed mouse spider, searching for the females who stay in their burrows. The female is black-brown.
The fearsome appearance is somewhat warranted: the venom is highly toxic, on a par with the Sydney Funnelweb. But before we all panic- there have been no recorded deaths from this handsome creature.
The Latin name is Missulena occatoria