In recent years, small numbers of Australian redback spiders (Latrodectus hasselti) have been seen in drier areas of New Zealand. It lives mainly in dry, sheltered places, often in outbuildings. The redback has a nasty bite, and a small number of deaths had been recorded in Australia before the introduction of a specific antivenom. If someone is bitten, no first aid should be used as this may increase the pain. The best action is to take the victim immediately to medical aid.
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Photograph by Robert Raven
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