Tunnelweb spider (Banded) Hexathele hochstetteri .
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Species: H. hochstetteri
Binomial name: Hexathele hochstetteri
Common name: Banded Tunnel Web
A large, bulky and a very fast New Zealand spider with a body length 25 mm. This spider is endemic to northern New Zealand. It is distinguishable by its chevron design on its abdomen. Tunnelweb species are also identified how they bite, they will press down with their fangs rather than pinch them together laterally.
It forms a silk-lined tunnel usually under the loose bark of fallen trees or in any suitable hole. Threads of silk extend from the entrance of the tunnel to act as trip lines. They capture insects that knock into the trip lines. They eat any insects, including large ground beetles. Despite its impressive size, it is shy, and there are no records of these spiders causing bite problems in humans.
A female, the palps are thinner than males palps.
A female spider in a defensive position.
A young spider, not fully grown hunting slaters.
Close up of a male Hexathele hochstetteri head showing fangs and palps. The palps in the front are used for sensory purposes. In the male the palps are modified for putting sperm into the epigyne of the female, that is situated on the underside of the abdomen. The jaws are located below the eyes and are called chelicera. The piercing parts of these jaws are the fangs that deliver the venom via a small hole at its tip.
Closeup of a female head, notice the palps are thin.
The underside of a male.
A closeup of a female, notice the thinner palps.
A tunnel web of Hexathele hochstetteri spun under a wooden plank. The spider (the dark image near the centre) can just be seen lurking inside with a victim of his trap (left end of the tunnel).