White tail spiders have been implicated in cases of ulceration or necrosis following spider bites.
White Tail spiders are a venomous, invasive species from Australia, commonly found in both the North and South Island of New Zealand. Instead of spinning webs to catch their prey, White Tails actively hunt other spiders. A sign that you may have White Tail spiders in your home is that there are no other spiders to be found and only a few abandoned cobwebs. White Tail Spider bites while painful, are very rarely serious.
How do I know a white tailed spider when I see one?
White Tail Spiders are slender looking, 1-2 cm in length, typically grayish or sometimes brownish in colour with orange to brown banded legs and usually with a distinct cream-white marking on the tip of the tail. Males and juveniles may have additional white spots on either side of the abdomen.
The leg span of a fully grown specimen is about the size of a fifty-cent coin. The two species present in New Zealand: Lampona cylindrata and Lampona murina cannot easily be distinguished from one another without close examination under a microscope.
Where are they found?
The White Tail spider’s preferred habitat is under dry bark and plants, but they can often be found inside houses, where they look for shelter from the light after hunting at night. They are also known to move indoors in the winter to seek shelter from the cold and there they find plenty of their favourite prey; grey house spiders.
The White Tail spider often hides in clothing and shoes, especially if they have been left lying on the floor.
The nests of White Tail spiders are tangled masses of webbing. These are often found in dark dry areas such as roof voids.
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