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Mouse Spider?

Mouse Spider?
Encino, Los Angeles County, California, USA
July 4, 2003
Size: 1/4-1/2 inch body length
I see these hunting spiders indoors more than out

mouse spider?
I saw one exactly like seemed huge. I could not figure out what it was, until i saw your photo. I had thought it to be a wolf spider. The pictures i took at night made it look black but it was brown in the daylight like yours. Its body was one and a half inches long, the abdomen the largest part I put a bowl over it and went to bed. in the morning when i awoke at 10am it was dead (the sun was hot). I felt bad.

Yes it could be we have them
Yes it could be we have them in England they look very simular

Those spinnerets suggest this specimen is a gnaphosid. Don't know if they have a common name outside of "running spiders." Never heard of "mouse" spider before.

Mouse Spiders
I got the name from Charles Hogue's Insects of the Los Angeles Basin (1), the only widely available field guide specific to Southern California arthropods. The species given was Scotophaeus blackwalli. There's a picture in the LA County Natural History Museum Spider Survey image gallery under the name "Mouse Spider."

Mouse Spider...
I had to look up what a mouse spider is... curiosity made me do it!! :)

It might be a common name for a local spider, but there is also a genus of spiders known as "mouse spiders".... and fortunately, this is not one of those.

Mouse spiders are not found in the United States (as far as I could tell, only Australia and Chile, South America). They are related to trapdoor spiders, and are similar (in its habits and in its venom) to many of the Australian mygalomorph funnel-web spiders (Hexathelidae); some of which are very nasty spiders (like the Syndey Funnel-Web).

Aside: the Australian "funnel-web" is in no way related to the family of "funnel-web" spiders (Agelenidae).

Here is a decent picture and taxonomy of a Mouse Spider.

I apologize for being so off-topic with a non-native spider... I thought it was interesting, and I just wanted to share a little of what I had found. :)

Mouse Spider
They are actually found in the US but are native to Australia. I actually found one today in my backyard and have been researching it. I have several pictures but the site tells me they are too big and I'm not sure how to resize them. By the way, I live in South Carolina and the mouse spider I saw today was a female, which is rare to be seen.

Mouse Spider
The species in question is Scotophaeus blackwellii, which apparently got its name from being brown and creeping around corners in houses.

Mouse Spider
Rod Preston-Mafham, on page 88 of The Book of Spiders and Scorpions (ISBN 0517060922), has a good photo of a mouse spider (he calls it Herpyllus blackwalli), and comments:

"In Europe, and also introduced and established in California, live the slightly longer [than H. ecclesiasticus] H. blackwalli, the mouse spider, so-called because of its velvety coat of mouse-colored hairs."

I understand this to refer to the mouse-gray hairs on the spider's abdomen.

I believe I also have them in my apartment in Oregon, and have seen some fascinating interactions with "daddy longleg spiders" (Pholcus phalangioides), when Scotophaeus touches a Pholcus's tripline. See a description, with photos, at

Mouse Spiders introduction into Cal.
Terry, I've been reading these now 6-year old posts about the mouse spider, since I found one in my Salem, OR backyard two years ago. In your comment, you quoted Rod Preston-Mafham: "In Europe, and also introduced and established in California, live the . . . mouse spider . . ."

My question: does anyone know why a poisonous spider such as this would be INTRODUCED into a new habitat? I haven't read that this spider is beneficial in any way, so why would someone purposely set out to establish this venomous creature in a new environment (not to mention a new country!)?

I'm just curious . . .


It's not what you think
First of all, common names are misleading. This is a pretty-much-harmless European species that merely shares a common name with more poisonous ones in places like Australia. Unless you happen to be allergic, it's no worse than a bee sting.

Secondly, the word "introduced" when talking about plants and animals just means that it didn't arrive naturally. It probably hitched a ride on something that was shipped over here.

"Scotophaeus blackwalli" AKA "H. blackwalli"
I found this little guy on the ceiling in the corner of my apartment in Portland, Oregon - Very fast little bugger. They also live in the UK (
It took me a little time to be sure exactly what it was but I'm now 99.9% sure it is Scotophaeus blackwalli AKA H. blackwalli. I guess the scientific name has changed. There are other "mouse" spiders that are red-black and nastier looking ( and Like the post above these are not found in the U.S. and I am very glad too.

Just wanted to add..
I think the reason the Mouse Spider is not reported in Oregon is because they are slow moving and do not look threatening when their fangs are tucked in. They also burrow, Gardeners probably see them, but think nothing of them, because they are not Black Widows, Hobo spiders, or anything else reported to be dangerous in that area. I have looked around a lot for a possible alternative to what we saw, nothing else I have seen looks anything like what we saw. That is the only spider that matches. That was why i was so suprised to see they only apparently live in Australia.

Mouse Spiders in Oregon.
Hi there, I know you're post is quite old on this subject, but I have seen a Mouse Spider in Oregon while I was staying with friends of my family. It looks nothing like the one in the picture.
I was staying with friends in Tualatin, we were out in the porch and it had just been raining, the front yard was full of loose soil and compost, perfect conditions for a mouse spider from the research I have done. I am quite scared of spiders myself, and so was my girlfriend at the time who is from Oregon. We saw a jet black spider, slow moving crawling along the concrete, up from the front yard where the loose soil was, It looked stocky and reminded us kind of like a bumblebee in appearance. My girlfriend thought it was a baby tarantula that had escaped, and said she had never seen one before. We both joked that "at least it was not a Hobo" and thought nothing of it.
I was intrigued as to what the spider might have been, as I have read that many spiders in Oregon have not been formally discovered yet. I am sure that if some one went to tualatin heights and dug around in those front gardens, they would find tonnes of them. I have no doubt in my mind that was the spider I saw!! Jet Black, shiney legs, big head and matt black body. please see attached video:

Mouse Spiders in Oregon
Thank you all for the validation! I self-ID'd a mouse spider in my backyard two springs ago, but like others here, everything I read said they were only found in Australia.

I've told many people about this scary, venomous creature, and no one had even heard of it, yet it's right here in our backyards! Why is that?

I wish I had photographed it, but I didn't. It really freaked me out. I was pulling weeds (without gloves on), and picked up what looked like a small, round, tan pebble -- except it wasn't hard like a pebble, it was soft. That's when I looked closer and saw its glossy black carapace and pinchers. I squealed and dropped it, then started shaking all over. I told my family, then found a jar and very carefully recaptured the spider for a closer look. (And every time I looked at it, I got the creeps all over again!)

After ID'ing it and learning about its toxicity, I was floored that such a potentially dangerous insect lives in the Willamette Valley (Salem), and no one knows about it. (And after reading all these posts this evening, I sure hope I can fall asleep tonight!) Oh, and I now ALWAYS wear gloves while gardening.

I live in Oregon as well and was bitten by this spider a week or so ago. The bite area got red and inflamed with a puss filled head almost like a pimple It was sore (like a bee sting). The next day, the head burst and the soreness lessened. For the next day or so, there were deeper red splotches in the inflamed red area and it was slightly itchy, which I ignored. It's Now just a red-brown splotch on my arm (where I was bit) but, other than that, its like nothing happened. The only other bite report I found started the same as mine but ended infected, I'm assuming theirs got infected by an outside sourse and not the bite itself.The spider was about the size of a quarter-legs and all.

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