How Common Are Spiders in New Zealand?
Spiders are members of the arachnid family. They have eight legs and fangs that are used for grabbing prey. Most are harmless to humans, but there are a few dangerous spiders that can cause a lot of discomfort and even death if they bite.
New Zealand has more than one thousand spider species. Some are endemic to the country and others are introduced. The most common type of spider in the country is the white tailed spider. The fully grown specimen measures about 15 mm in length. It is often mistaken for the black widow.
A number of other species are nocturnal. Many are found in leaf litter, grasses and other vegetation. They are also at home in suburban gardens.
There are four families of spiders in New Zealand. These include araneomorphs, mygalomorphs, and Migidae. All four of these types are arachnids, but they differ in their body sizes. Some are smaller than others, and only a few are venomous.
Araneomorphs are the most common family of spiders in New Zealand. They have sideways moving fangs. These spiders feed on blowflies and other insects.
Mygalomorphs are larger and have fangs that are used to grab prey. They are also bigger than araneomorphs. They are nocturnal and tend to live under logs. They construct long tunnel webs under stones.
Hexathelids are the largest and heaviest mygalomorphs in New Zealand. They are nocturnal and snatch prey items. They build loosely woven tunnel webs under stone or logs.