did you know? Spiders

|  December 10, 2013

The world’s largest known spider (it holds the Guinness World Record) is a male goliath bird-eating spider (Theraphosa blondi) collected by members of the Pablo San Martin Expedition at Rio Cavro, Venezuela in April 1965. It had a record leg-span of 28 cm (11 in) — sufficient to cover a dinner plate. This species is found in the coastal rainforests of Surinam, Guyana and French Guiana, but isolated specimens also have been reported from Venezuela and Brazil.

The South American tarantula is commonly known as a birdeater because of an 18th-century engraving showing another member of the tarantula family eating a hummingbird. It’s the reason the entire Theraphosa genus is nicknamed bird eater.

Despite its nickname, T.blondi only rarely devours birds and mostly survives on arthropods. As general predators, they might also eat a small mouse or lizard should they encounter one.

T.blondi does produce venom, though it’s not dangerously toxic to humans. Bites have been described as feeling like bee or wasp stings, but they rarely require medical attention.

Sources: guinessworldrecords.com, newswatch.nationalgeographic.com

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