Swifty the tribal mask spider
Also known as:
spotted ground swift spider, swift ground spider, zebra-legged spider, mitre-headed spider
Phew! Hi! Can't stay long. Got a lot of dashing about to do.
I'm Swifty the tribal mask spider from Calamvale Creek. I spend most of my days darting about. I have to run here, there, everywhere in fact. There's so much running around to do.
I've visited nearly every tree in Calmvale Creek that has loose bark on it. Man, that's fun! And that's why I'm often called a swift spider — because I cover a lot of territory fast.
Where do I live?
I don't have one place called home. The whole park around the creek is my home. I cover too much territory to settle down in one place.
I'm most active in summer, and unlike a lot of spiders, males of our species look almost the same as females. When it's time to breed, in autumn and winter, I will construct a flat, white egg-sac shaped like a disk about 5 millimetres wide.
Sometimes people call me a swift ground spider. Yeah, sure. I don't mind the ground, as long as it's got rocks, dead leaves, and stuff like that. But mostly I run all over the trees beside Calamvale Creek. That's where I live and spend most of my time.
Fastest spider in Australia
No one ever catches me, because I'm the fastest spider in Australia.
I've been trying to get the other spiders around the creek to join me in holding a spider sprint. Hah! Imagine Bianca the bowl spider, Minti the golden orb web spider, or those other stay-at-homes ever getting close to me. I would win legs down.
I don't build a web. There's no time. I couldn't stay still long enough to build one anyway.
What do I eat?
I eat any little insects or small spiders that get in my way. I'm so fast they don't see me coming, and I'm gone before they realize I got them.
An interesting thing about me is that when I run I wave my two front legs above my body. This looks like a wasp waving its antennas.
Why am I called a tribal mask spider?
I got that name because I look like a black mask of some weird native tribe. Take a look at the pattern. Scary, huh?
But people give me lots of different names — swift ground spider, spotted ground swift spider, zebra-legged spider, mitre-headed spider — probably because by the time they think up a name I've travelled to heaps of other places and someone else has thought up a different one.
Am I dangerous?
Hah! I'm not likely to bite you, because I'll be a blur in your memory before you catch me. But if you are stupid enough to put your finger on my head I will make sure you feel some pain, but it probably won't kill you.
— Swifty the tribal mask spider