Identifying Spiders of New Zealand: Badumna longinqua

Image 1: Photo of the spider.

From the corner of my eye I saw it pass,

A long legged creature that moved so fast.

As soon as see it, I do declare

My wife had jumped upon a chair.

Given the size, such a little dot,

That caused this lady to loose the plot

I raise its level its honor and class

That little spider now ruled the house

Colours differ, not a light brown with golden yellow markings like those house spiders found in the Uk and Europe Tegenaria domestica (clerck, 1757). The house spider found in New Zealand (Australian species), can be grey as well. Whether it grows to a similar size as that of its European cousins I am yet to discover though where I sit I can see two and the one I studied was just outside the door so they are quite obviously as abundant.

Yet again the digital camera was not sufficient to give a good image of the spider, however I did discover that it does have a simple macro on it so the image is slightly more helpful. (Image 1). Having taken the photo I left the spider to find something to contain it whilst I draw it and try to discover the species to add it to my list. In doing so I have come to the conclusion that I need to purchase a key to identifying New Zealand spiders, these take you through a process which eliminates character traits guiding you to the final conclusion, for instance does the spider have six eyes or eight, you eliminate one or the other. In conjunction with a telescopic microscope individual species are determined, as discussed in my previous hub on Trite auricoma the true detail for each individual species is only confirmed when studying the Palps (male), and Epigyne (female). This particular spider was a female (males have boxing glove looking structures at the end of the pedipalp (front appendages not legs). females are usually found on or in webs as when males are old enough to mate they wonder around finding females. They tend not to eat again, just mate until they die.

Method For Observing the Spider

Image 3: Drawing of the spider.

Finally I chose a milk carton lid which had a nice white interior to observe the spider, I placed the cap over the spider and used a piece of card to slide under trapping it inside. I then placed the cap with the spider inside a plastic sleeve, loosely. Image 2.

Drawing the spider Image 3 led me to notice the similarities with the common house spiders found in Europe, It had similar patterning on its abdomen, as far as I could see its eyes were arranged in two rows of four, and had striping around its legs, fine hairs covered the whole of the spider. It was surrounded by a messy web which had no discernable structure to it and it had positioned itself central to the web mass as protection and to strike at prey. Measuring approximately 13mm on the abdomen and cephalothorax and up to 25mm including the legs I would consider the spider to be an adult but whether it is full grown I do not yet know.

Only the most common of spiders are able to be identified in the manner that I am using, I am hoping to obtain the necessary equipment to indulge myself at some point in the future, but for now comparison to images on flickr, sites that contain the Planetary Biodiversity Inventory for recording the spotting of species and The world Spider Catalogue, not to mention the Australian Arachnological Society website and Landcare Research website were all helpful for obtaining the confirmation that the spider I had spotted was the Grey House Spider, Family Desidae, Genus Badumna and species longinqua (L Koch 1867).

When finished with, the spider was returned to the position I found it and it scurried away happy.

TheBrown version

Click thumbnail to view full-size

The Brown New Zealand house spider

On the 4th February I had the honour of finding a male, (well it fell onto somebodies head),  Bodumna linguinqa. who was patient with my attempts to photograph it. he was quite aggressive jumping to attack whoever or whatever had trapped it inside a bowl to photograph it, but ultimately saw that attack was useless and sat still while these pictures were taken, identification was easy as this is a very common spider, there was an attempt to convince me that this was an avondale spider which I have not yet managed to see, but the eye arrangement, Chelicera, abdomen and Cephalophorax shape and colour all identified this spider as a house spider of the brown variation.

Back into the garden.

Register of Species of Spiders in New Zealand .

auricoma (urquart, 1886)
longinqua (L Koch 1867)


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