New Zealand Katipo
- extremely unlikely you'll see a Katipo on your Zealand Holidays
The New Zealand Katipo spider, Latrodectus katipö, is thought to be dangerous as it is the only spider native to New Zealand that is poisonous to humans. All spiders have venom that kills their prey, but only a few species in the world have venom that is toxic or poisonous to humans.
This spider lives in mostly coastal areas and is usually found under driftwood and hiding in clumps of grasses growing on sand on or around beaches. It is now an uncommon species, actually it is endangered, and much of its natural habitat has been modified and/or impacted by human activities.
Only the female of the species is capable of biting and will do so only while protecting her eggs or herself.
The fully grown female has an black, round abdomen about 3/8" in diameter, or approximately the size of a garden pea. There is almost always a bright red stripe all the way down the back, and a red hourglass underneath similar to an American Black Widow.
In my 23 years before leaving New Zealand for Australia and since on my return visits I have never seen one of these very elusive creatures.
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