Tunnel-web Spider

Probably the most feared spider in New Zealand.

  • Found in all regions of eastern New Zealand. Commonly in areas of more intense human population.
  • Many species. Medium to large – up to 5 cm in body length.
  • Can be highly toxic and known cause of some 13 recorded deaths. Antivenin is now available.
  • Normally found outside homes but will readily enter dwellings, shoes, and protective outside structures during night wanderings or wet weather.
  • Create web-lined hollows in moist sheltered areas such as rockeries, under rocks, in rotting logs and dense shrubbery, or any protected buried or half-buried garden litter.
  • During mating season spiders can travel some distances seeking mates – especially the male.
  • Venom from the male Tunnel Web is more toxic than that of the female, and males are more likely to wander during hours of darkness – especially during the breeding season. It’s for this reason that males are considered more dangerous than females.
  • Tunnel Webs commonly arch back before striking, driving the fangs down with significant force. Fang penetration on exposed flesh can therefore be significant.
  • Spiders can survive for considerable periods under water, therefore swimming pools can present a very real danger in areas where these spiders are found.