Porrhothele antipodiana

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Poorhothele antipodiana
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Mygalomorphae
Infraorder: Tuberculotae
Family: Hexathelidae
Genus: Porrhothele
Species: P. antipodiana
Binomial name
Porrhothele antipodiana
(Walckenaer, 1837)

Mygale antipodiana
Mygale quoyi
Mygale antipodum
Mygale hexops
Hexops whitei
Macrothele huttonii
Macrothele insignipes
Nemesia kirkii
Arbanitis kirkii
Porrhothele simoni
Porrhothele avocae

Female P. antipodiana (post mortem)

The black tunnelweb spider, Porrhothele antipodiana, is a spider found throughout much of New Zealand and the Chatham Islands in bush and gardens.


It is a considerably large species, measuring over 30 mm in body length, 50 mm including the long legs. Males are often found indoors during spring and summer when they leave their burrows to find mates. When found inside, they are typically near a source of moisture such as a bathroom or laundry because they desiccate easily. Often all that is found are shrivelled corpses.

Typically, living under logs and rocks, they build a silken tunnel with a broad area at the entrance for the detection of prey (often beetles, but they have been recorded eating snails and mice).[1]

Bites are painful and may cause localised swelling, itching, or numbness. Victims are advised to disinfect the area to reduce the risk of infection. The venom is not dangerous to humans.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

This spider was described by director Peter Jackson as the inspiration for his depiction of Shelob in his The Lord of the Rings film adaptation.[3]



External links[edit]