Saturday, January 14, 2006

Giant Australian spiders are invading

Australia, ever our loving neighbours from across the ditch have sent their latest wave of attackers: Giant huntsmen!
"We pride ourselves on not having any large and horrible spiders in this country. Secondly they also eat native invertebrates and other insects and so there is the potential to have impacts on those populations," says Bissmire.
These spiders look viscious, after all they grow to the size of a human handspan and have particularly aggressive looking fangs, but are actually harmless to human beings. The problem is that such a large and aggressive animal is more than capable of having a go at our native invertebrates, like giant Weta. It's important that people keep at eye out for these spiders (obviously, I'm speaking to my fellow New Zealanders ;)) and report the creatures if you spot one. That's really important too, don't just turn the little invader into a small pile of paste and think "I've done my part for Queen and country", but to contact authorities about how many you saw and so they can recover the corpse (alive is preferable however).

The reason for that is so they can monitor the spread of the population and map where the spiders are. This will help the authorities in being able to determine how big the problem is and in tracking down and exterminating these spiders. Remember however cute they may be, they are invaders and could do immense damage to New Zealands native invertebrates.

Also remember who your enemy is, this fellow below is a good guy.

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That's an avondale spider and it definitely has a right to be here. It's also the spider that was used in the movie Arachnophobia and the Australian invader is pretty similar to the way it looks (but bigger).

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So pay attention to the animals colouration, size (the Australian spiders can grow considerably larger) and pattern. Also be aware you typically encounter avondales around the North Island (Eg. Auckland) and not so much in the South. If you see the invader, capture the animal (just put a little lid or similar on it, the spider won't be strong enough to escape) and contact someone who can do something about it, such as Landcare research.