Black cobweb or false katipo spider

Black cobweb or false katipo spider

Steatoda capensis

Shiny black or dark brown, similar in size and shape to katipo. Some individuals may have a faint red stripe. This combination of characteristics may lead to their misidentification as katipo. However, they can be distinguished by the arrangement of white markings on the abdomen, the faintness and smaller size of any red stripe, and the absence of the red hourglass marking on the underside of the abdomen.

Black tunnelweb spider

Black tunnelweb spider

Porrhothele antipodiana

Large spiders with dark abdomens and legs. The cephalothorax (the fused head and thorax) is leathery looking and typically red-brown in colour although darker examples are known. The spinnerets (appendages to spin silk) are quite obvious and look like two feelers that extend beyond the end of the abdomen.

Daddy long-legs spider

Daddy long-legs spider

Pholcus phalangioides

These spiders have small slender bodies with very long legs. They usually sit upside down in their delicate but rather messy webs, which are typically constructed indoors in out-of-the-way spots such as ceiling corners and behind furniture. They also like living in basements and cellars, and this has led to them being named cellar spiders in some parts of the world.

The name daddy longlegs is also sometimes applied to craneflies and the European harvestman Phalangium opilio. But while both these have long legs, they are quite different animals. Craneflies have wings and the European harvestman, while an arachnid, is not a spider - it has a one-part body and does not make a web. The daddy longlegs spider has a two-part body and is almost always found in a web.

Jumping spiders

Jumping spiders

Family Salticidae

More than 150 species of jumping spiders are thought to live in New Zealand, with most of them yet to be described and classified by scientists. These spiders are small to medium-sized, with most having bodies less than a centimetre long. With so many species, this family includes quite a range of colour schemes.

Jumping spiders are readily identified by the presence of a very large pair of eyes right at the front of the cephalothorax (the combined head and thorax).

At Te Papa were most often asked about the black-headed jumping spider (Trite planiceps) see its image above. The front half of the body and first pair of legs are predominantly jet-black. The abdomen is brownish-grey with a yellow-green stripe running along the upper side. The rest of the legs are light brown. The body is around a centimetre long, but the powerful front legs make the spider look longer.

Katipo spider

Katipo spider

Latrodectus katipo

The adult female of katipo is a small spider with a pea-sized abdomen. It is black and may sometimes have white markings both at the front of the abdomen and also bordering a pronounced red stripe. This stripe starts in the middle of the abdomen and runs towards the rear end of the spider. There is also a a red hourglass shape on the underside of the abdomen. In the northern half of the North Island, a black form of katipo exists. It lacks the red stripe but is otherwise similar in size and appearance. This black form was previously known as Latrodectus atritus but both the red stripe and black forms are now regarded as the same species.

Males and juveniles of both forms have a lot of white that gives way to black as the spiders moult. Males go through fewer moults than females and they never attain the females' size or dark colour. Indeed, they still look very much like juveniles despite being fully grown.

Nurseryweb spiders and water spiders

Nurseryweb spiders and water spiders

Dolomedes spp.

Large fast-moving spiders with a leg span of six centimetres or more in adult females. Males are somewhat smaller. These spiders are typically pale brown or grayish in colour with yellow bordering around the cephalothorax (the frontal portion of the spider that bears the legs, fangs, and eyes). D. minor typically has a substantial yellowish stripe running lengthwise from the front to the middle of the abdomen (the rear portion of the spider). The stripe is much less extensive and is often absent in D. aquaticus.

Where are they found?

Both species can be found throughout New Zealand. At least one other species of water spider is still to be described and named by scientists. A particularly large species of Dolomedes can be found in the Chathams.

Orb web spiders

Orb web spiders

Family Araneidae

This group is highly variable in size and colour. The most common species in New Zealand is the garden orb web spider Eriophora pustulosa. This species has a tremendous range of colour, although most commonly individuals are shaded with browns and greys.

Despite the variability in colour pattern, this species can be readily identified by the presence of five small knobs at the end of the abdomen. Some other New Zealand species are brilliant shades of yellow, green, orange, and other colours.

Where are they found?

These spiders are found throughout New Zealand. Eriophora pustulosa is also found in Australia, and is thought to have ballooned (been carried by strong winds) into New Zealand. It is the commonest species of orb web spider in New Zealand and is very common in gardens.

Sheetweb spiders

Sheetweb spiders

Cambridgea spp.

There are about thirty species in the genus Cambridgea. They vary greatly in both size and colouration. The smallest species may be less than a centimetre in length, whereas the largest species, Cambridgea foliata may have a palm-sized leg span.

Typically these spiders have longish legs relative to their body size and the males of some species may have very large chelicerae (these are the structures that include the fangs).

Slater spider

Slater spider

Dysdera crocata

The body is about one to one-and-a-half centimetres long (excluding the legs). The cephalothorax (the fused head and thorax) and legs are red-orange and the abdomen is cream to pale coffee-coloured. These spiders only have six eyes rather than the usual eight. The chelicerae (the structures that bear the fangs) project forward and are quite large relative to the size of the spider.

 
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