Two-spine spider. Photographed by Norm Heke. 2001, Te Papa

Two-spine spider 

Poecilopachys australasia

What do they look like?

Small spiders, less than one centimetre across. The upper surface of the female's abdomen is yellow and olive with two white horn-like ‘spines' that give this spider its common name. Yellow and white bands and some red-brown markings are also visible. Males are much smaller and lack the distinctive ‘spines' of the female.

Where are they found?

Another immigrant from Australia, these spiders have been recorded in New Zealand since the early 1970s. They have become quite common in the upper North Island. Since their arrival, they have slowly spread south and have reached as far afield as Wanganui.

What are their habits?

The two-spined spider is often found in citrus trees. By day, the spider will hide under leaves, emerging at night to construct a cart wheel-shaped web. Despite its small size, the spider is capable of capturing moths and other insects several times its own size. As night draws to a close, the spider will recycle its web by eating it. The egg sacs are a distinctive spindle shape.

What is their bite like?

These spiders are regarded as harmless to humans.

On display at Te Papa?

No.