Black Tunnelweb Spider

The Black Tunnelweb spider (Porrhothele antipodiana) is a spider that is found across New Zealand and the Chatham Islands. It can be found in bushes and gardens. The Black Tunnelweb spider is generally found living under logs and rocks. Its prey is often beetles and occasionally snails and mice. The Black Tunnelweb spider builds a silken tunnel with a wide area at the entrance for awareness of prey. Male Black Tunnelweb spiders are frequently found indoors during spring and summer; this is when the spiders leave their burrows to find mates. These spiders desiccate easily so when they are found inside they are typically near a bathroom, laundry room, or near a source of moisture. If desiccated all that is found are shriveled corpses.

Black Tunnelweb spider bites are painful and may cause swelling, itching, or numbness to the location. To reduce the risk of infection, victims are highly advised to disinfect the area, though the venom is not dangerous to humans.

Director Peter Jackson described the spider as the inspiration for Shelob in his Lord of the Rings trilogy.

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