Size Range Body lengths: 2 cm (female), 1.6 cm (male); Leg span: up to 15 cm; Habitats peridomestic, tree hole, under bark; Life history mode aerial; Feeding Habits arthropod-feeder, carnivorous, insectivorous ; Introduction. The lifespan of most Huntsman species is about two years or more. They tend to live under rocks, bark and similar shelters, but human encounters are commonly in sheds, garages and other infrequently-disturbed places. Predators of Huntsman Spiders include birds and geckoes, Spider Wasps, nematode worms and egg parasites (wasps and flies). We take a look at the plate-sized spiders and examine if they can be found in the UK, whether or not they bite, and if they can kill you. We acknowledge Elders past, present and emerging. Huntsman spiders are known to inflict a defensive bite if provoked by humans or other animals. Huntsman spiders are large, long-legged spiders. Plate-sized spiders hunt for their food and feast on a diet of lizards and insects. Unlike other types of spider, they go out to stalk and kill their prey instead of spinning webs, feasting on insects and small animals like mice and lizards. The badge huntsman (Neosparassus) is larger still, brown and hairy. Palystes superciliosus, ventral aspect, showing aposematic colouration, plus typically masculine gracile build and clavate pedipalps armed with mating spurs, A huntsman spider consuming a small beetle, A female Heteropoda venatoria spider consuming a katydid, Adult Social huntsman spider Delena cancerides on the underside of a log in Victoria, Australia, On average, a huntsman spider's leg span can reach up to 15 centimetres (5.9 in), while their bodies measure about 1.8 centimetres (0.71 in) long. We pay for videos too. They are mostly grey to brown, sometimes with banded legs. a huntsman spider was seen dragging a dead mouse up the side of a fridge. Their diet mainly consists of insects but they are also known to eat small reptiles such as skinks and gekkos. There are no reports of deaths from Huntsman spider bites. The average body size of a male huntsman spider is around 0.75 inches (19 mm), whereas females are slightly larger at 0.90 iches (23 mm), though different species of huntsman will vary in size. They are often held in high regard because they get rid of cockroaches and crickets. However an investigation into spider bites in Australia, in which Huntmans featured prominently, did not show any serious consequences of being bitten. The tropical or brown huntsman (Heteropoda) is also large and hairy, with mottled brown, white and black markings. View our online Press Pack. The females are fierce defenders of their egg sacs and young. The enormous creepy crawlies need warm temperatures to survive and so they are not found in the wild in the UK. The banded huntsman (Holconia) is large, grey to brown with striped bands on its legs. [4] Bites from sparassids usually do not require hospital treatment. This website may contain names, images and voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. He then inserts his palps into the female to fertilise her eggs. Click here to upload yours. And people's fears have been reignited after a monster spider the size of a dinner plate went on the loose in a terrified couple's home in Queensland on July 23, 2017. "The Sun", "Sun", "Sun Online" are registered trademarks or trade names of News Group Newspapers Limited. In September 2016, a plate-sized Huntsman ended up in Scotland via a shipping container from China. They are also notorious for entering cars, and being found hiding behind sun visors or running across the dashboard. Huntsman spiders have been known to bite people but they are not generally regarded as being a danger to humans. They normally live in small gaps in tree bark, but frequently wander into homes and cars in search of food. The eyesight of these spiders is not nearly as good as that of the Salticidae (jumping spiders). You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. You have reached the end of the main content. Many species grow very large – in Laos, male giant huntsman spiders (Heteropoda maxima) attain a legspan of 25–30 centimetres (9.8–11.8 in). The egg sacs differ fairly widely among the various genera. Males of Heteropoda venatoria, one of the huntsman spiders that seems to easily find its way around the world, have recently been found to deliberately make a substrate-borne sound when they detect a chemical (pheromone) left by a nearby female of their species. Dozens of the social huntsman species, Delena cancerides, can be seen sitting together under bark on dead trees and stumps (notably wattles) but they can also be found on the ground under rocks and bark slabs. More than a thousand Sparassidae species occur in most warm temperate to tropical regions of the world, including much of Australasia, Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean Basin, and the Americas.[4]. Photos of a terrifying Huntsman spider took the internet by storm in 2016, after the critter was found on a farm in Queensland, Australia. Huntsman spiders are renowned for the enormous size, with males able to achieve a leg span of between 10 and 12 inches. Sparassids are eight-eyed spiders. — Email us at or call 0207 782 4368. A cold pack may relieve local pain. If they’re touched, they have a “cling” reflex and will hang on tightly. The Sun website is regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). The female Huntsman (Isopeda, for example) produces a flat, oval egg sac of white papery silk, and lays up to 200 eggs. Huntsman spiders are renowned for the enormous size, with males able to achieve a leg span of between 10 and 12 inches. Huntsman spiders, members of the family Sparassidae (formerly Heteropodidae), are known by this name because of their speed and mode of hunting. Most of the sound emitted is produced by strong vibrations of the abdomen. In some cases (Isopeda), the female may moisten and tear the egg sac open, helping her spiderlings to emerge. Discover more about spider survival. The characteristic frequency of vibration and the pattern of bursts of sound identify them to females of their species, who will approach if they are interested in mating. For further details of our complaints policy and to make a complaint please click here. However, the formal study of spider bites is fraught with complications, including unpredictable infections, dry bites, shock, nocebo effects, and even bite misdiagnosis by medical professionals and specimen misidentification by the general public. There have been reports of members of various genera such as Palystes,[8] Neosparassus (formerly called Olios) and several others, inflicting severe bites. During this period the female can be quite aggressive and will rear up in a defensive display if provoked. The eyes appear in two largely forward-facing rows of four on the anterior aspect of the prosoma. They are sometimes called giant crab spiders or wood spiders because they like to live in woody areas such as forests, sheds, and woodpiles. [11] Some tropical species like Heteropoda venatoria (Cane huntsman) and Delena cancerides (Social huntsman) have been accidentally introduced to many subtropical parts of the world, including New Zealand (which has no native sparassid species). A few species are native to colder climates, like the green huntsman spider (Micrommata virescens) which is native to Northern and Central Europe. Huntsman spiders use venom to stun their prey and to aid in digestion. Persons unfamiliar with spider taxonomy commonly confuse large species with tarantulas, but huntsman spiders can generally be identified by their legs, which, rather than being jointed vertically relative to the body, are twisted in such a way that in some attitudes the legs extend forward in a crab-like fashion. Incubation periods vary and are probably influenced by climatic conditions. Huntsman spiders, like all spiders, moult in order to grow and often their old skin may be mistaken for the original spider when seen suspended on bark or in the house. Brown Huntsman (Heteropoda species) spiders are patterned in motley brown, white and black. Larger species sometimes are referred to as wood spiders, because of their preference for woody places (forests, mine shafts, woodpiles, wooden shacks). FOR arachnophobes, Huntsman spiders are the stuff of nightmares - eight-legged monsters that eat cockroaches and grow up to a FOOT in length. They are common in Australia but have been introduced accidentally to parts of the USA, Pakistan, India, China, and Japan. This service is provided on News Group Newspapers' Limited's Standard Terms and Conditions in accordance with our Privacy & Cookie Policy. Young Huntsman spiders are pale. Food consists of insects and other invertebrates. They move at lightning speed, can walk on walls and even ceilings, and jump huge distances suddenly. Huntsman Spiders are a diverse and relatively harmless group of spiders, with 13 genera and 94 described […] Badge Huntsman Spider threaten with strong colours, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collection, Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI), Natural Sciences research and collections, Australian Museum Lizard Island Research Station, 2020 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes finalists, Become a volunteer at the Australian Museum. Thank you for reading. Huntsman spiders are renowned for their enormous size, with fully grown males reach a leg span of up to 12 inches. A silken retreat is often built for egg laying, as well as for moulting. Huntsman Spider The Huntsman Spider is a common name given to the family ‘Sparassidae’. Since their discovery, entomologists have identified a number of spiders in the Sparassidae family similar in size to the giant huntsman spider, many hailing from the Greater Mekong Subregion in Southeast Asia. The spider had hitched a ride with a family's belongings from Brisbane, Australia, to the UK. Delena females lay a ground-sheet of silk upon which the egg sac is anchored while the eggs are laid into it. Huntsman spiders of many species sometimes enter houses. The Australian Museum will reopen to the public on Saturday 28 November after a 15 month $57.5m building transformation, and general admission will be FREE to celebrate the reopening of this iconic cultural institution. Image credit: gadigal yilimung (shield) made by Uncle Charles Chicka Madden. In Australia a huntsman spider was seen dragging a dead mouse up the side of a fridge. Some species will even carry their egg sac under their bodies while moving about. Both Brown (Heteropoda) and Badge (Neosparassus) Huntsman spiders have less flattened bodies. egg sacs are carried underneath the female's body, while in other species like Palystes and Pseudomicrommata spp., females generally attach egg sacs to vegetation. Huntsman spiders are members of the Sprassidae of which there are more than 1,000 species. Shaking them off doesn’t work, but does make them angry and likely to bite. The Australian Museum respects and acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the First Peoples and Traditional Custodians of the land and waterways on which the Museum stands. They are able to travel extremely quickly, often using a springing jump while running, and walk on walls and even on ceilings. Some people have suffered local swelling and pain - sometimes accompanied with nausea, headaches, vomiting, irregular pulse rate, and heart palpitations. Several species of huntsman spider can use an unusual form of locomotion. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Nevertheless, their vision is quite sufficient to detect approaching humans or other large animals from some distance. They have been known to inflict serious defensive bites on humans.[7]. 679215 Registered office: 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF. They live in the crevices of tree bark, but will frequently wander into homes and vehicles. The 12cm long eight-legged beast arrived here from Japan, the BBC reported. Australian Huntsman spiders belong to the Family Sparassidae (formerly Heteropodidae) and are famed as being the hairy so-called 'tarantulas' on house walls that terrify people by scuttling out from behind curtains. [citation needed] They are also called giant crab spiders because of their size and appearance.Larger species sometimes are referred to as wood spiders, because of their preference for woody places (forests, mine shafts, woodpiles, wooden shacks). For other inquiries, Contact Us. [13] Because of their speed, they commonly hunt and eat cockroaches and are found in many homes. For example, in Heteropoda spp. Photos of a terrifying Huntsman spider took the internet by storm in 2016, a monster spider the size of a dinner plate went on the loose in a terrified couple's home in Queensland, a huge 18cm beast was discovered lurking in a shipping container at a removals firm in Mertsam, Surrey, Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). They will generally make a threat display if provoked, and if the warning is ignored they may attack and bite. Get our monthly emails for amazing animals, research insights and museum events.