Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Katipö spider

The katipö spider, Latrodectus katipo, has the reputation of being dangerous as it is the only native spider poisonous to humans. All spiders have venom that kills their prey, but only a few species in the world have venom that is poisonous to humans.
  • The katipö lives in coastal areas and is usually found under driftwood and hiding in clumps of grasses growing on sand. It is now an uncommon species, and much of its natural habitat has been modified by human activities.
  • Only the female is capable of biting and will do so only while protecting her eggs or herself.
  • The fully grown female has an black, round abdomen the size of a garden pea. There is a bright red stripe all the way down the back, and a red hourglass underneath.