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Kātipo Latrodectus katipo

Endemic. At risk-declining.

This close relative of the Australian Redback Spider L. hasselti is found nowhere else in the world. Not only that, its main habitat is restricted to dune systems throughout Aotearoa New Zealand making it a very specialised species in terms of habitat preferences.

Females are larger than males and sport a red strip with a whitish border. Males are much smaller and black..

Native dune vegetation, along with driftwood is their preferred habitat. The introduction of exotic species, particularly three species of spiders which predate on them, has had a detrimental effect, as had alteration and disturbance of their habitat making this a declining species thus warranting the Department of Conservation designating them as At risk - declining. 

More information on this enigmatic species can be found on iNaturalist here        

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