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Rare katipo sighting at Onoke Spit

The female katipo [red stripe] seen at Onoke Spit. PHOTO/ANDREW SIMPSON

KAREN COLTMAN
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Last Friday, for the first time in more than 10 years, a katipo spider was seen at Onoke Spit, South Wairarapa.

Sustainable Wairarapa member Jim O’Malley said this recorded sighting of the small, attractive spider with a red stripe and a poisonous bite was “a remarkable find”

“It’s like finding that needle in the haystack.”

The katipo was found by Andrew Simpson and William Brockelsey, who are members of the Wellington entomologist group to which O’Malley also belongs.

Katipo spiders are usually found in small groups so where there is one, there should be others.

“We are planning to get out to the spit in a couple of weeks and hope to find more.”

The katipo is one of only two venomous spiders in New Zealand but over the past 30 years, DOC has declared its numbers to be in ‘serious decline’.

The DOC-led 2002 census found katipos present in only 28 per cent of the Wairarapa sites it was spotted in 12 years earlier.

The best sites for the spider in 2002 were Onoke Spit, Te Humenga Point in Palliser Bay, Flat Point, and Uruti Point in eastern Wairarapa.

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