Wednesday, November 30, 2016


They’re creepy and they have too many legs. That’s what I always say about spiders. Unfortunately, for many of us who have an aversion to spiders, they are everywhere. My husband likes to remind me that I’m never more than ten feet from a spider. Now that’s very unsettling.

Since they don’t get a lot of good press, and since they do have some good qualities, I thought we’d investigate the extraordinary class of Sparassidae, which contains ninety-four different species and are commonly called Huntsman Spiders.

Photo credit: Flickr

Unlike most spiders, the Huntsman does not spin webs. Webs are used for catching a spider’s prey. Instead of building a web, the Huntsman forages or ‘hunts’ for its next meal, hence their name. They are fond of insects, and that's the good thing about spiders; they kill insects that might be harmful to crops. They will also eat other small invertebrates like a small skinks or geckos.

Their bodies are somewhat flattened, which allows the Huntsman to live in cracks and crevices of tree bark or rocks but they are not averse to living in houses or cars. No need to worry, these spiders, which are venomous, prefer to run rather than bite. As their Greek name indicates, Sparassidae are known for their speed and are among the fastest of all spiders. Their venom will not kill, but it can cause a great deal of pain. 

There are thousands of sub-species in the family Sparassidae, and they can be as small as one inch in diameter. However, the Giant Huntsman is considered the largest spider by leg span. It can grow up to twelve inches. It is often described as being as large as a dinner plate. I read that the Giant Huntsman was discovered in Laos in 2001. Scientists at that time thought it was incredible that a spider of such size had remained undiscovered for so long.

Photo credit: Sandra Caldwell, Shutterstock

I know, most of us don’t like spiders, but they play an important part in the ecosystems of the world. Most spiders eat bugs that can destroy crops. They are also food for other animals, adding further importance to their environments. Their silk is also being considered for use by humans as it is exceptionally strong. Apparently, Pennsylvania State University did some research and found that if we could find a way to make artificial spider silk, it could be used in artificial tendons, or even bullet-proof vests and parachute cords. 

Photo: Australian Huntsman – credit: M. Grey, Australian Museum

Prepare yourself, because this is going to freak a lot of you out. Spiders can live anywhere and everywhere, and they’re watching you with all eight eyes!

To read more about spider eyes, visit this website:

Here’s a map to give you an idea where spiders live. All that red stuff shows you where spiders are. 

Yup, spiders are pretty much everywhere. I have to admit to you that I did look for a video to add to this post. However, the ones I did find creeped me out so much that I decided against it. It’s enough just to look at their picture and to think about them. We don't have to watch them move! That's even creepier. 

Quick! Check the floor near your feet! Made you look!

Thanks for visiting, and if you’d like to learn more about the Huntsman Spider, visit the following sites. Some of the pictures included in these sites are not for the faint of heart. J

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Jeanne E. Rogers, Award Winning Author
The Sword of Demelza, The Gift of Sunderland and
One Hot Mess, A Child’s Environmental Fable
Where Endangered Animals Heroes Roam the Pages!

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