White Tail Spiders
Lampona cylindrata spiders were first introduced into New Zealand from Australia over a hundred years ago and have gradually become widespread. They have a preference for warm, dry environments and are likely to be found both inside and outside houses.
Adult spiders have black or dark grey bodies and are readily identified by a small white patch at the rat end of the body. Juveniles have several paired white spots down the back. Fully grown spiders are about 15 mm in length with shiny black legs that can span a 20 cent coin. These spiders lurk in dark corners and wander about at night, mostly feeding the on the common house spider (Badumna longinquus).
White tailed spiders often enter houses and find their ways into clothing and beds where humans can disturb them. They will only bite if provoked but this can happen accidentally, especially if caught up in bedding or clothes or squeezed in some way.
Taking articles such as firewood (indoors) could provide a means of introducing spiders into the home environment.
EFFECT OF BITES
Lampona cylindrata spiders are known to bite although in most cases, bites cause little harm and in some cases, the bite may not be felt. However, bites sometimes result in painful localised blistering, intense itching and some degree of ulceration up to the size of a small coin.
The likelihood of being bitten by Lampona cylindrata is low, even though the spider is quite common.
The toxicity of the venom is low but, if the venom becomes contaminated with digestive fluids as the spider bites, serious skin lesions may result.
If bites occur, the consequences are usually minor and no treatment other than cleaning with a mild antiseptic is required. Very occasionally, bites may lead to a loss of skin down to the deeper layers. Treatment may involve skin grafting.
Medical advise should be sought if bite produces blistering or ulceration. At present, no anti-venom is available.
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