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Two Spined Spider

The Two Spined spider (Poecilopachys Australasia) is a nocturnal spider. It is an immigrant from Australia and has been recorded in New Zealand since the early 1970s. The female, Poecilopachys Australasia is about 8 mm in length and when mature, has two white horn-like spines. Yellow and white bands and some red-brown markings are visible. Large body hairs on an adult female gradually disappear as she approaches maturity. The male is much smaller (2.5 mm - 3 mm in length) and looks very different. Adult males lack the pair of large abdominal spurs and the bright colours that characterize the adult females. They look so different that they were first thought to be a different species. Despite their conspicuous colours, they are seldom seen as they usually hide under leaves during the day. At night they emerge and spin a horizontal orb web to catch night-flying insects such as moths. In the morning, they eat their web completely and settle down to hide for the day. The Two Spined Spider is one of the few spiders that can change colour quickly, perhaps to confuse potential predators. The Two Spined spider is found in gardens on shrubs, often on citrus trees. By day, the spider will hide under leaves, emerging at night to construct a cart wheel-shaped web. This species only forms a small orb web at night and is not often noticed during the daylight hours as it rests underneath green leaves. It makes a small orb web during the night and may also be found guarding a small brown spindle-shaped, papery egg sac. Two Spined spiders are regarded as harmless to humans. The toxicity of the venom of this spider towards humans is unknown but it is a small, non-aggressive spider and thus is most unlikely to cause significant harm.

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