A crate of tarantulas arrived in New Zealand this morning to start a countrywide breeding programme.
The shipment of 107 spiders from Wales will allow experts at seven zoos to breed self-sustaining populations.
They arrived in Auckland at 5.45am and were inspected by biosecurity officials from the Ministry of Primary Industries before being sent on to Wellington.
Simon Eyre, Wellington Zoo's collections development manager, says the tarantulas are harmless.
"It's not going to be anything like 'tarantulas on a plane'. The venom is much the same as a bee sting."
Mr Eyre said the spiders were sourced from Wales because of a reputable dealer there who could meet strict Ministry of Primary Industries requirements. Tarantulas could grow to the size of a dinner plate, Mr Eyre said, but would never survive outside captivity because New Zealand was too cold.
"We keep them in glass tanks here."