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Topic: Vagrant spiders

Is part of topic What spider is that?

Scientific name: Uliodon spp.

What do they look like?

Spiders are usually dark brown to almost black, with a five-centimetre leg span. However, there are a number of species in this group and this description may not apply to all of them.

Where are they found?

Throughout New Zealand, particularly in native forest. Some species are rather common in suburban gardens.

What are their habits?

There are probably about twenty species of vagrant spider in New Zealand, the majority of which have yet to be documented by scientists. These spiders seek shelter by day and hunt at night. They are capable of moving very rapidly in pursuit of their prey.

Like tunnelweb spiders, vagrant spiders are attacked by spider-hunting wasps. Male vagrant spiders may also wander indoors when seeking females to mate with. In Wellington, this typically happens around autumn.

Black tunnelweb spider

What is their bite like?

One bite has been documented. The victim reported some joint pain and strong perspiration. We don't know which particular species he was bitten by, nor do we know the effects of the other species in this family. Fortunately, it appears that these spiders prefer to run away rather than bite.

On display at Te Papa?

In the forest invertebrates display in Mountains to Sea and also in NatureSpace.

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