If spiders scare you, you might want to skip this post. Otherwise, keep scrolling down to see the photograph.
This is the most commonly encountered tunnelweb spider around here (although they're not actually all that common). I'd been looking for one to photograph for a while, so was delighted to finally find this medium-sized individual under a rock on a bank of the Pohangina. These spiders have the delightful scientific name of Porrhothele antipodiana, and although they resemble the dangerous Australian funnelwebs in the genus Atrax, they're considered harmless. No doubt a bite would hurt — they're large spiders with impressive fangs — and any bite or sting from an invertebrate with a venom carries some risk of an allergic reaction (a single bee sting can sometimes cause an anaphylactic reaction, with potentially fatal consequences), but these seem to me to be a reason for delight rather than fear.
After the photographs, I gently encouraged it back under its rock.
All content © 2014 Pete McGregor