Cave spider (Nelson) Spelungula cavernicola
Species: S. cavernicola
Binomial name: Spelungula cavernicola
Common name: Nelson cave spider.
Spelungula cavernicola is an extremely rare spider endemic to New Zealand. It is New Zealand’s largest spider with a 15 cm leg-span. It has a body length of 2.4 centimetres. It is a mottled light brown colour. The first two pairs of legs each bear a very long claw. It lives in limestone caves of the Nelson region.
It is a hunting spider are known to feed on cave weta (Gymnoplectron sp.). They locate their prey then pounce on it. The spider remains secured to the wall via a silk line. By lifting its prey off the ground, it is unable to get away. The female spider produces large, almost spherical, egg sac that it suspends from cave ceilings on a silk thread.
As of 1991, this extremely rare Nelson cave spider is New Zealand's only spider protected under the Wildlife Act. It is classed as Range Restricted and stable in the New Zealand Threat Classification System.
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