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Spelungula facts for kids

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Nelson cave spider, Oparara basin, Karamea, New Zealand
Scientific classification

Spelungula is a monotypic genus of South Pacific large-clawed spiders containing the single species, Spelungula cavernicola, or the Nelson cave spider. It was first described by Raymond Robert Forster, Norman I. Platnick, & Michael R. Gray in 1987, and has only been found in caves in the northwestern part of New Zealand's South Island.


The genus name is derived from "spelunca", which is latin for cave and is feminine in gender. The species name "cavernicola" refers to the species restriction to caves.


It is New Zealand's largest known spider, with a legspan of 13 to 15 centimetres (5.1 to 5.9 in) and a body length of 2.4 centimetres (0.94 in), and its main prey is cave weta.

Conservation status

It is one of the few spider species afforded legal protected under the New Zealand Wildlife Act. It is classed as "Range Restricted" and stable in the New Zealand Threat Classification System.

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