T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Whitetail spiders (Lampona murina & Lampona cylindrata)

North Island Whitetail spider (Lampona murina)
Kingdom:
Animalia 
Phylum: Arthropoda 
Class: Arachnida 
Order: Araneida 
Suborder: Araneomorphae 
Family: Lamponidae 
Genus: Lampona
Species: L. murina
Scientific name: Lampona murina  This is the North Island  Whitetail spider.
Common name: White tail spider 

South Island Whitetail spider (Lampona  cylindrata)
Kingdom:
Animalia 
Phylum: Arthropoda 
Class: Arachnida 
Order: Araneida 
Suborder: Araneomorphae 
Family: Lamponidae 
Genus: Lampona
Species: L. cylindrata
Scientific name: Lampona cylindrata  This is the South Island  Whitetail spider.
Common name: White tail spider

Thanks to Phil J. Sirvid, Curator of Spiders at the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa for this information
"Lampona murina is more likely in the North Island. Based on previous museum specimen records, as far as we know we have murina in the North Island and cylindrata in the South Island (with both being Australian species). However, these spiders are easily able to stow away with people, so I'd be surprised if there wasn't at least a little bit of back and forth movement between the islands. And I can't easily tell them apart without being able to view particular characters under a microscope."

This Australian spider was first recorded in NZ in 1886, at Waiwera, Auckland. It is believed that it came into the country with early colonists and is now well established throughout the North Island. The two species are not easily distinguished from one another without microscopic examination. They are  Lampona murina or Lampona cylindrata amd both these species have been introduced to New Zealand.  

These dark grey spiders are 12-17mm long and readily recognised by their elongate body form and a distinctive white patch on the end of the abdomen.
Their preferred habitat is under dry bark and plants but will often be seen inside houses, where they look for shelter from the light, after hunting at night. The spider often hides in clothing, especially if it is left lying around on the floor.These nocturnal hunting spiders are unusual because they feed only on other spiders.
White-tailed spiders do bite but will only bite if handled or provoked. In most cases the bite will cause little harm, as there is nothing in the venom that will affect us.  A White-tail bite is immediately painful. It should be noted that cases of confirmed White-tail spider bites have rarely resulted in anything more severe than a red mark and localised, short-lived pain. As with bee/wasp stings different people will react in different ways.

You can read the New Zealand Medical Council report on the whitetail spider at   NZ Medical Journal website
 

Thanks to Landcare Research which is New Zealand's foremost environmental research organisation for the above information.

The photo below is of an adult whitetail. with a dark body and only a white patch on the end of its abdomen. Body length on this individual 23mm. Photographed in the North Island at New Plymouth so probably it is Lampona murina.

Female in the silk of a banded tunnelweb spider Hexathele hochstetteri. She had killed and devoured the host



The mouth parts and fangs. Female


A female feeding on a cobweb spider of the family Theridiidae.


Male


The juvenile spiders have lighter white marks on the body as seen in photos below.
A young whitetail only 5mm in body length. The white body marks fade with age.


White tail hence the common name.


A large adult in defence position.





The photo below of the underside of the above spider. It shows the external genital structure of a female spider the epigynum. It is the oval structure on the abdomen in front of the epigastric furrow. The primary function of the epigynum is to receive and direct the palpal organ of the male during copulation. 

The underside of a female. Body length 15 mm.


Though whitetail spiders kill other spider, the photo below the tables have been turned and one has been caught and bound with silk by a cellar spider.
  

Video:  In the battle of speed verses strength, a White-Tailed Spider and a Cellar Spider fight until only one remains.alive.



Thanks to Wikipedia for text and Information: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/