The Red-Back Spider can inflict a painful bite which can be fatal, especially to the young and elderly. An effective anti-venom was developed in 1956.
Only a small amount of venom can cause serious illness, as the poison attacks the nervous system. Systemic envenomisation usually results in headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, pyrexia and hypertension.
The pain around the bite area can be excruciating or it may go unnoticed. First aid and medical attention should be sought as soon as possible, if bitten. If you have heart condition or other heart problem, you may need hospitalization.
The body of an adult red-back is about 1/2 inch long. The female red-back is normally shiny black, with a red hourglass marking on the underside of the abdomen. The marking may range in color from yellowish orange to red and its shape may range from an hourglass to a dot.
Prefers dry habitats - often found in out-houses, letter boxes, undersides of seats, in rubbish, such as empty cans, in the sub floor and other dark areas. Electric lights attract their prey - moths, flies, mosquitoes and other insects.
Red-backs produce messy, irregular webs. Webs usually are located near ground level and under a protected ledge such as under lawn furniture or wood piles. The female with the iconic red hourglass marking also indicates their presence..