Photo credit: Les Oates
The Trapdoor Spider, Stasimopus robertsi, has not yet been officially assessed for the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM; however, it has a potential classification of ‘ENDANGERED’. It is endemic to South Africa and is found in the central part of the Gauteng Province.
The Trapdoor Spider is a nocturnal burrowing spider. Their burrows are closed off with hinged trapdoors of variable thickness, which are used for protection and as a prey detection system. Usually during the day, and during harsh weather, moulting and egg-laying, the lids are kept closed. They open the trapdoor slightly, waiting for prey to pass close to the entrance, then rush out, grab the prey and return to the burrow.
The main threat to these spiders is the destruction of their habitat. The area where they were originally collected from is now mostly urban, with very little natural vegetation left. In the last few years the odd specimen has been found, but only in gardens. Further research into their ecology, taxonomy, and distribution has been recommended to help conserve this species.
To learn more about the Trapdoor Spider, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.
To learn more about the Bush Warriors “Species of the Day” feature, please click here and read up on our initiative to raise awareness about the loss of earth’s biodiversity.