Have you spotted one in your backyard? Aussie spider establishing in Christchurch

A male Philoponella congregabilis. Photo: Canterbury Museum
A male Philoponella congregabilis. Photo: Canterbury Museum
A bug-crushing Australian spider has established itself in parts of Christchurch.

The spider, Philoponella congregabilis, does not produce venom to kill its prey, but instead it is wrapped so tightly in the spider's silk that its exoskeleton is crushed.

The spider then regurgitates digestive enzymes over its victim and devours the liquefied soft parts of its body.

Philoponella congregabilis was first recorded in Christchurch in 2014 but has become widespread in the city's southern suburbs over recent years, according to Canterbury Museum.

A female Philoponella congregabilis. Photo: Canterbury Museum
A female Philoponella congregabilis. Photo: Canterbury Museum
Information on the museum's website says the spider is common in and around buildings, fences and gardens in Sydney and is found in the same habitats here.

It is likely to spread to other parts of New Zealand and is one of the 50 introduced Australian spider species that live in the country.

The best way to spot it in your backyard is to look for its distinctive web.

Philoponella congregabilis build untidy-looking horizontal or sloping orbwebs.

 

 

 

 

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