The katipō (Latrodectus katipo) is an endangered species of spider native to New Zealand. The species is venomous to humans, capable of delivering a potentially dangerous bite. There are two color forms (one from the North island and one from the South Island). Our specimens are the red form collected on the South Island several decades ago before their habitat was heavily impacted by human development. Red katipō females found in the South Island, are always black, and their abdomen has a distinctive red stripe bordered in white.
Katipō are mainly found living in sand dunes close to the seashore. Due to habitat loss and colonization of their natural habitat by other exotic spiders, the katipō is threatened with extinction.
A katipō bite produces the toxic syndrome latrodectism; symptoms include extreme pain and, potentially, hypertension, seizure, or coma. The katipō is particularly notable in New Zealand as the nation is almost entirely devoid of dangerous native wildlife; this unique status means the spider is well known, despite being rarely seen.
|Common Names||New Zealand Black Widow, Katipō|