Image: The unusual spider reported to the KVH office curled up on the left, and stretching its legs on the right.
Late last week an unusual looking spider was found on-orchard and reported to the KVH team.
Curled up tightly in a ball it was hard to distinguish, but once it decided to show off, stretch its legs and unravel itself, we were able to identify it as a Bird-Dropping Spider – thankfully found in Australia and New Zealand and not a new invader.
Interestingly, this group of spiders have evolved an effective strategy against being eaten by day-active predators like birds and wasps in that they have bodies that look like unappetising bird droppings. This is very apt, as that’s exactly what the reporter thought it was until it started to move!
Also commonly known as the Orchard Spider, it is often seen on fruit trees or in orchards where moths (its main source of food) may be abundant.
Thanks to the reporter for doing exactly the right thing and contacting us.
Growers, contractors, and anyone else on-orchard are the best people to spot anything unusual. If it's a pest or bug you're reporting, catch it if you can and take a photo. If it's a disease symptom on a plant, tree, or vine, take some clear photos but try not to touch it. Remember, the sooner a report is made and looked into, the more we can do to slow the spread and limit impacts.
You can report to KVH on 0800 665 825 or by popping into the office if you’re in the neighbourhood (25 Miro St, Mt Maunganui). You can also make reports online by submitting images to Biosecurity New Zealand here or by using the free Find-A-Pest app here to help ID pests of concern.