The oldest known living spider has died aged 43. Picture: AAP Image/Curtin University
The oldest known living spider has died aged 43. Picture: AAP Image/Curtin University

World’s oldest spider dies aged 43

AUSTRALIA has a notorious reputation as home to some of the world's deadliest creatures and until recently also harboured the oldest known living spider in the world.

The trapdoor matriarch died at the ripe old age of 43 during a long-term population study in Western Australia's Central Wheatbelt and far outlived her previous rival, a 28-year-old Mexican tarantula.

Curtin University's Leanda Mason said the arachnid's significant life had allowed scientists to further investigate the behaviour and population dynamics of trapdoor spiders.

Funnel-web Spiders and Mouse Spiders are often mistaken for trapdoor spiders. Picture: Supplied
Funnel-web Spiders and Mouse Spiders are often mistaken for trapdoor spiders. Picture: Supplied

The research project was started by renowned University of WA biologist and spider specialist Barbara York Main in 1974.

"Through Barbara's detailed research, we were able to determine that the extensive life span of the trapdoor spider is due to their life-history traits, including how they live in uncleared, native bushland, their sedentary nature and low metabolisms," Ms Mason said.