10 Common Spiders in New Zealand! (2024)

Do you want to learn about the spiders found in New Zealand?

Types of spiders in New Zealand

Before we begin, I want you to know that the list below is just a fraction of the spiders in New Zealand. Because of the sheer number of these arachnids, it would be impossible to cover them all. For example, some estimates claim there are over 50,000 kinds of spiders on the planet (and the list is still growing)!

With that being said, I did my best to develop a list of spiders that are MOST often seen and easily identified.

Here are the 10 MOST common SPIDERS found in New Zealand!

#1. Australian Golden Orbweaver

  • Trichonephila edulis

Common New Zealand spiders

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Females are about 40 mm (1.5 in) long. Males are around 7 mm (0.2 in) long.
  • The body has a black-and-white pattern on the back; the underside is yellow, while the abdomen is gray to brown.
  • The web is about 1 m (39 in) in diameter and protected on the sides by a strong “barrier” web.

There’s no reason to fear this spider in New Zealand.

It isn’t aggressive, and its venom isn’t dangerous to humans. The Australian Golden Orbweaver’s bite may cause mild local pain, numbness, and swelling, but it prefers running away than striking. If you are bitten, try putting some cortisone cream on the bite.

Australian Golden Orbweavers are primarily active during the day when they check their web for prey. When insects get stuck in their web, this spider approaches and adapts its attack according to the prey’s size. For example, the spider will grab small prey and wrap it in silk without biting it. However, it will bite larger insects, wait for the venom to neutralize the prey, and then wrap it in silk.

#2. Redback Spider

  • Latrodectus hasselti

Common spiders found in New Zealand

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Females have spherical black bodies with a visible red line and an hourglass-shaped red/orange streak on the lower abdomen. They are 10 mm (0.4 in) long.
  • Males are 3-4 mm (0.12–0.16 in) long.

The Redback Spider is also known as the Australian Black Widow.

It can be found all over New Zealand and is highly venomous. Be careful at night because this spider is nocturnal and spends its days in small crevices.

Unfortunately, female Redback Spiders are known to live near or inside human dwellings because they prefer warm, sheltered locations. Its venom can harm humans, especially if a bite is left untreated. The most common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, headache, and agitation. Get help right away; antivenom is readily available.

#3. Bronze Hopper

  • Helpis minitabunda

Spiders of New Zealand

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Males are 10 mm (0.39 in) long, larger than females, 8 mm (0.31 in) long.
  • This species’ front legs are particularly long, and its first set of eyes is very large.

Look for Bronze Hoppers in moist areas with plenty of foliage. These spiders in New Zealand are active mainly during the day when they hunt for small insects like flies.

They get their name from the way they hunt and catch prey. First, they track the insect and slowly move toward it to avoid being sighted. Then, once they’re within jumping distance, they attach a silk dragline to their perch and jump on the insect!

Like most jumping spiders, Bronze Hoppers are harmless to humans and rarely bite. Instead, they prefer to avoid any perceived threats, including us!

#4. White Banded House Jumper

  • Maratus griseus
Types of spiders in New Zealand
By Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (iNaturalist user: gorcc_enviroed)

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 4-5 mm (0.15-0.2 in).
  • Males are blackish, brown, white, or grey.
  • Females are more camouflaged with mottled patterns of white and brown.

White-banded House Jumpers are also called peacock spiders in New Zealand. This name comes from the vivid color patterns males have on their upper abdomens.

Their bodies are connected with a flexible appendage that allows them to raise their abdomen or wave it side to side. They also have lateral flaps on the abdomen, which they raise and display during courtship to attract the female. During courtship, males engage in a complex dance.

Interestingly, a female White-banded House Jumper can signal a male that she is not interested in mating. There are two benefits to this signal. First, the ritual “dance” attracts predators, which is dangerous for both males and females. Secondly, the male doesn’t have to waste energy on an uninterested female. If the male persists in dancing, even though given the sign, the female might try to attack and eat him. After all, dating is dangerous in the world of spiders. 🙂

#5. Grey House Spider

  • Badumna longinqua

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Females are 15 mm ( 0.60 in) long. Males are less than 11 mm (0.43 in) long.
  • The body is covered with light-grey hairs and spot-like markings.
  • The legs are purplish-brown, with hairs arranged into stripes on each leg.

The Grey House Spider in New Zealand prefers man-made structures.

This species is widely found in human habitats, such as the insides of houses, under furniture, and in window frames and walls.

Grey House Spiders eat ants, moths, wasps, bees, and cicadas. So, even though they might invade your home, they’re actually a good houseguest! They mostly feed during the night, stay hidden during the day, and don’t wander around households.

The only time you may see Grey House Spiders out and about is during the mating season. Males leave their webs searching for a female, venturing into the open. The hunt for a mate begins in the warmer months, with most mating finishing by early autumn.

#6. Silver Orb Spider

  • Leucauge dromedaria

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Females grow up to 15 mm (0.59 in) long. Males are around 6 mm (0.23 in) long.
  • This species is distinguished by the “humps” on the abdomen.
  • It has silver, black and yellow markings on a brown background.

Look for Silver Orb Spiders in garden shrubs, wooded areas, and swampland vegetation. This species creates a small, sloppy, horizontal web. They hang upside down in the web, so their silvery bodies are camouflaged against the sky, while their dark underside blends with foliage or soil.

This species must remain alert and cautious because plenty of animals prey on it. For example, birds and large bees often pick these spiders right out of the web! Wasps will even land on the web and lure the spider by imitating a struggling insect’s vibrations.

If disturbed, Silver Orb Spiders often drop to the ground and run away to hide. Though they rarely bite, their venom can result in numbness, swelling, and dizziness. Therefore, you should seek medical attention.

#7. Sooty Orbweaver

  • Salsa fuliginata

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Females are 7-9 mm (0.27-0.35 in) long. Males are 3.5-5 mm (0.13-0.19 in) long.
  • Their bodies are brownish with darker patterns and a thick coat of shiny hair.

The Sooty Orbweaver spider in New Zealand isn’t picky about its habitat.

You can find them in dry forests, shrubs, open forests, bushes, swamps, and even suburban gardens. They’re most active from October to January, which is believed to be their mating season.

Sooty Orbweavers have an unusual habit: they decorate their webs! This species uses thickened silk threads, prey remains, and fallen debris to help the web blend in with undergrowth. Additionally, the decorations give the spider places to hide within the web.

If you find a Sooty Orbweaver, resist the urge to destroy its web or kill it. This species doesn’t pose any health risks for humans and is not known to bite. Plus, it will help keep your garden free of pests!

#8. Spotted Ground Swift Spider

  • Nyssus coloripes

Also known as the Fleet-footed Spider, Painted Swift Spider, and Orange-legged swift spider.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Females grow up to 7 mm (0.27 in) long. Males are slightly smaller.
  • The legs can be up to 3 cm (1.18 in) long.
  • Their coloring is black with white lines on the body and legs. The front legs are orange or reddish.

Unlike most spiders in New Zealand, this species doesn’t make webs.

Instead, the Spotted Ground Swift Spider lives and hunts primarily on the ground. Their preferred habitat is open forests and grasslands, but they sometimes wander into houses and gardens. Most of the time, they can be found in leaf debris, on rocks, fences, or tree trunks.

This species has adapted to hunting during the day, not by camouflage but by becoming even more noticeable! Spotted Ground Swift Spiders have vivid coloring and markings that repel predators. In addition, they move quickly and tremble their front legs as a warning. This trembling mimics the behavior of wasps.

#9. Black House Spider

  • Badumna insignis

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The Black House Spider has a robust shape and is dark in color, usually black, dark brown, or charcoal grey, with a dorsal pattern of light grey or white markings.
  • Females are 18 mm (0.70 in) long, with a leg length of up to 30 mm (1.18 in).
  • Males are around 10 mm (0.39 in) long.

True to their name, Black House Spiders in New Zealand live inside human-populated areas. Look for them in window frames, crevices, dark corners, and garden walls.

If you find one of these spiders wandering around your house, it’s likely a male. The females of this species are very territorial and rarely leave their webs. Additionally, they are nocturnal, coming out at night to repair the web by adding new silk over the old.

Black House Spiders feed on insects that are attracted to light, such as moths, beetles, and termites. Consequently, they can be good to have around if you have a pest problem. These small, unassuming spiders are harmless to humans. Instead of killing them, try transporting them outdoors or allowing them to continue eating your more harmful bugs!

#10. Long-bodied Cellar Spider

  • Pholcus phalangioides

long bodied cellar spider

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The cephalothorax (head) and abdomen are different shades of brown.
  • Females have a body length of around 8 mm (0.31 in), with males slightly smaller.
  • Legs are long and about 5 to 6 times the length of the body.

Do you know the spider that always seems to be in the corner of your basement? Well, it’s most likely the Long-bodied Cellar Spider! These long, thin, and delicate spiders are commonly found in New Zealand in homes and buildings as they prefer warm habitats (they originate from subtropical climates in Asia). I know that every time I clean my basement with a vacuum, a few of these spiders end up getting sucked inside.

Some people find cellar spiders beneficial because they are known to hunt down and kill other types of spiders. But unfortunately, they will also eradicate native spider species. Interestingly, these spiders will leave their webs to hunt for other spiders! Once they find one, they subdue their victim, using their long legs to avoid being bitten in retaliation.

Despite their proximity to people, they are not dangerous and are not known to bite humans.

Check out these other guides about animals found in New Zealand!

Which of these spiders in New Zealand have you seen before?

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