Spider citizen science for schools and Early Childhood Centres

If your school or Early Childhood Centre contributes a photo of a spider (or fern) to our citizen science projects, we’ll include the photo in Te Papa’s DeCLASSIFIED! exhibition*.

More on the exhibition DeCLASSIFIED! Nature’s secrets exposed at Te Papa.

* provided the contributed photo has a Creative Commons licence.

It is a nice way to learn more about your environment. And perhaps make spiders a bit less scary!

Below is a great find made by Plimmerton kindergarten.


Black tunnelweb spider, Porrhothele antipodiana. Observed by “plimkindy”, 5 March 2015, at Plimmerton. Photo © plimkindy CC BY-NC. http://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/1272003 “We found this HUGE spider under an old tyre in the bush today. We are a Kindergarten group and our teacher Leo did the recent spider and ferns workshop at Te Papa. Please put our picture on the screen and tell us more about this huge, hairy spider.”

Te Papa’s spider expert, Phil Sirvid, identified the spider in plimkindy’s photo as a black tunnelweb spider, Porrhothele antipodiana. Black tunnel web spiders are found throughout New Zealand, often under logs and rocks. They eat beetles and other insects they find on the ground.

More on black tunnelweb spiders from Te Papa’s online What spider is that?

Black tunnelweb spiders have been popular observations with seven reported so far.  Below are a couple more great photos.

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Raumati South Kindergarten and Renwick School have also made citizen science contributions:

European harvestman, Phalangium opilio. Renwick School, 26 February 2015. Photo © team4renwick CC BY-NC. http://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/1258119

European harvestman, Phalangium opilio. Renwick School, 26 February 2015. Photo © team4renwick CC BY-NC. http://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/1258119

The Renwick School observation of a European harvestman in NatureWatch NZ.

The Raumati South Kindergarten observation of a cellar spider in NatureWatch NZ. (We cannot show the photo here because it is all rights reserved.)

How to contribute

These are the links for contributing to our citizen science projects:

More instructions for participating in these citizen science projects.

By uploading your photos, you can learn about the spiders and ferns around you. If your photos have a Creative Commons licence, we might feature them in the DeCLASSIFIED! exhibition as an example of citizen science in action – in fact, we’ll guarantee this for Early Childhood Centres and schools!

If your school or Early Childhood Centre has contributed a photo of a spider or fern to our citizen science projects, but you haven’t heard back from us about it featuring in the DeCLASSIFIED! exhibition, please email me or leave a comment below, with the link to your NatureWatch observation.

2 Responses

  1. Phil Sirvid

    Hi, Phillip. If you’re in Auckland you probably won’t see this species, but there is a closely related species up there. Aucklanders are far more likely to find the banded tunnelweb spider (genus Hexathele). It’s broadly similar in shape but the colours are different. As the name suggests, there’s some quite prominent banding on the abdomen that we don’t see in the black tunnelweb shown in the photo above.

  2. Phillip

    awesome shot of the spider! Do these live in the Auckland area?


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