AppearanceMale ''D. cancerides'' have a body length of 20–25 millimetres , while females are larger, with a body length of 25–32 mm . The body is light brown and covered in dense, fine hairs. The legs are also hairy, and can have a span up to 20 centimetres .
Various populations show major differences in the chromosomes, leading to the recognition of several "chromosomal subspecies", but these hybridize where in contact and there is little genetic divergence.
DistributionThe species is found all over Australia, including Tasmania. It was introduced to New Zealand in 1924. Its range in New Zealand expanded slowly out of Avondale, a suburb of Auckland, hence the alternative New Zealand common name. There is a sculpture in the Avondale shopping centre celebrating the spider.
BehaviorHighly unusual among spiders, the flat huntsman spider is a social species, even sharing prey. They are often found under loose bark in colonies up to 300, but they are highly aggressive and commonly cannibalistic toward members from other colonies. They hunt their food rather than spin webs for it. They are timid towards humans and bites are infrequent, and when they occur, symptoms are usually very minor.
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