One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A highly venomous New Zealand spider which is black with a red spot on the back, closely related to the American black widow.
Latrodectus mactans katipo, family Theridiidae
- ‘Unlike many other beaches, Uretiti's sand dunes were largely intact and grasses such as pingao and spinifex grew on the dunes which were ideal for katipo to build insect-snaring webs on.’
- ‘The red katipo is endangered because its habitats are being destroyed by forestry.’
- ‘Like others of this kind, the katipo lives for only a year, just time to produce the next year's generation.’
- ‘Today, however, the likelihood of being bitten by katipo is becoming increasingly remote, as this icon of our coastal dune systems is rapidly disappearing.’
- ‘The katipo spider is a coastal sand dune specialist, and is mostly found on the dunes of warm sandy beaches.’
Mid 19th century: from Maori.
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