Fungus to kill white-tail spiders discovered

Last updated 00:00 01/08/2007
Fairfax
WATCH OUT, WHITEY: A fungus discovered on the discovered on the West Coast, has been found to kill white-tailed spiders.

Relevant offers

A fungus discovered on a dead spider near Lake Kaniere, on the West Coast, has been found to kill white-tailed spiders.

Canterbury University PhD student Nic Cummings made the breakthrough on a trip to the Coast, and now hopes to develop a biocontrol agent.

By last year, ACC spider bite claims had quadrupled, with 20,000 people paid $1.7 million for spider-related injuries.

Mr Cummings is now working with AgResearch scientist Dr Cor Vink to stabilise the fungus spores so they can be delivered to spiders, possibly using traps.

Vern Newcombe, from Community and Public Health in Greymouth, said they did not keep records on spider bites.

However, he said the white-tail spider itself was not poisonous. "It's the bacteria on the fangs. They're not venomous."

White-tails are dark grey and readily recognised by their elongated body form and a distinctive white patch on the end of the abdomen.

The Landcare Research websites says bites have rarely resulted in anything more severe than a red mark and localised, short-lived pain. As with bee and wasp stings, different people react in different ways.

Ad Feedback

- NZPA

Special offers
Opinion poll

Which would you prefer?

A traditional burial

Cremation

A natural burial

Other

Vote Result

Related story: Natural burials the way to go

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

Blog
In Our Nature blog

In Our Nature, with Nicola Toki

The cost of losing nature