In the South
Close up this is a fearsome-looking spider.
Its one of a several species that are listed under the general name tunnel web spiders. These spiders are ground dwellers and construct silk-lined tunnels in which they hide during the day. Often the tunnels can be found among rocks or logs.
Extending from the tunnels of most species there is a sheet of silken strands. When an insect or small creature such as a slater or millipede moves across the web the spider is alerted and rushes out to capture the victim. A bite then paralyses the prey which is then taken into the tunnel and devoured.
It is descriptive to say that tunnel web spiders attack their victims. As can be seen in this photograph, they have forward seeking, hunting eyes and two large parallel fangs . Often, they will rear up as they approach their prey and then strike downwards for the kill.
Here a pencil has been used to mimic an insect . The spider attacked quickly and its powerful bite could be felt as it gnawed at the pencil wood.
- © Fairfax NZ News