Brazilian wandering spiders: Bites & other facts

The spider's name means "murderess" in Greek, which is appropriate for the deadly arachnid.

A closeup-photo of a Brazilian wandering spider, with orange head and black and white-striped legs

Classification/taxonomy

Size & characteristics, bites and venom, additional resources.

The Brazilian wandering spider, also called armed spiders or banana spiders, belongs to the genus Phoneutria , which means "murderess" in Greek. And it's no wonder why — it's one of the most venomous spiders on Earth . Its bite, which delivers neurotoxic venom, can be deadly to humans, especially children, although antivenom makes death unlikely.

Guinness World Records has previously named the Brazilian wandering spider the world's most venomous spider multiple times (though the current record-holder is the Sydney funnel-web spider, Atrax robustus , according to Guinness ). But, as the late Jo-Anne Sewlal, who was an arachnologist at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, told Live Science, "classifying an animal as deadly is controversial," as the amount of damage depends on the amount of venom injected. 

Jo-Anne Sewlal was a noted arachnologist from Trinidad and Tobago. While completing her PhD, she received the National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST) 2012 Award for Excellence in Science and Technology for Junior Scientist. In 2013, She received a doctorate in zoology from the University of the West Indies. She discovered several species of spiders in her home country, surveyed the arachnids across several countries the Caribbean and appeared as an expert on the topic on The Science Channel. She died of an allergic reaction in January 2020.

There are nine species of Brazilian wandering spider, all of which are nocturnal and can be found in Brazil. Some species also can be found throughout Central and South America, from Costa Rica to Argentina, according to a 2008 article in the journal American Entomologist . Study author Richard S. Vetter, a research associate in the department of entomology at the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, wrote that specimens of these powerful arachnids have been mistakenly exported to North America and Europe in banana shipments. However, Vetter noted, in many cases of cargo infestation, the spider in question is a harmless banana spider (genus Cupiennius ) that is misidentified as a Phoneutria . The two types of spiders look similar.

The taxonomy of Brazilian wandering spiders, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) , is:

Kingdom : Animalia Subkingdom : Bilateria Infrakingdom : Protostomia Superphylum : Ecdysozoa Phylum : Arthropoda Subphylum : Chelicerata Class : Arachnida Order : Araneae Family : Ctenidae Genus : Phoneutria  

  • Phoneutria bahiensis
  • Phoneutria boliviensis
  • Phoneutria eickstedtae
  • Phoneutria fera
  • Phoneutria keyserlingi
  • Phoneutria nigriventer
  • Phoneutria pertyi
  • Phoneutria reidyi
  • Phoneutria depilata , according to a 2021 study published in the journal ZooKeys , which found that Phoneutria boliviensis actually included two separate species from different habitats. 

Brazilian wandering spiders are large, with bodies reaching up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) and a leg span of up to 7 inches (18 cm), according to the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany. The species vary in color, though all are hairy and mostly brown and gray, although some species have lightly colored spots on their abdomen. Many species have bands of black and yellow or white on the underside of the two front legs, according to the University of Florida . 

A beige Brazilian wandering spider crawls toward a green leaf on a forest floor

These arachnids "are called wandering spiders because they do not build webs but wander on the forest floor at night, actively hunting prey," Sewlal told Live Science in an interview conducted in 2014, before her death. They kill by both ambush and direct attack.

They spend most of their day hiding under logs or in crevices, and come out to hunt at night. They eat insects, other spiders and sometimes, small amphibians, reptiles and mice. 

Research into one species of Brazilian wandering spider, Phoneutria boliviensis , revealed that these spiders eat a mix of arthropods and reptiles. DNA metabarcoding, a technique that examines the DNA and RNA in a sample, of the guts of 57 spiders identified 96 prey species, including flies, beetles, butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, locusts and crickets, according to research from the University of Tolima and the University of Ibagué in Colombia . Some of the female spiders also ate lizards and snakes.

While their bites are powerful and painful, "their bites are a means of self-defense and only done if they are provoked intentionally or by accident," Sewlal said.

A gray brazilian wandering spider sits on a green leaf over a large white egg

In the Brazilian wandering spider, just as in most spider species, the female is larger than the male. Males approach females cautiously when attempting to mate, according to the biology department at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse . Males perform a dance to get females' attention, and males often fight each other over the female. The female can be picky, and she often turns down many males before choosing a mating partner. Once she does pick one, the male needs to watch out; females often attack the males once copulation is finished.

The female then can store the sperm in a separate chamber from the eggs until she is ready to fertilize them. She will lay up to 1,000 eggs at a time, which are kept safe in a spun-silk egg sac.

Brazilian wandering spiders typically live for one or two years.

Brazilian wandering spiders' venom is a complex cocktail of toxins, proteins and peptides, according to the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany. The venom affects ion channels and chemical receptors in victims' neuromuscular systems.

After a human is bitten by one of these spiders, he or she may experience initial symptoms such as severe burning pain at the site of the bite, sweating and goosebumps, Sewlal said. Within 30 minutes, symptoms become systemic and include high or low blood pressure , fast or a slow heart rate , nausea, abdominal cramping, hypothermia, vertigo, blurred vision, convulsions and excessive sweating associated with shock. People who are bitten by a Brazilian wandering spider should seek medical attention immediately.

Their  venom is perhaps most famous for triggering painful and long-lasting erections . For that reason, in a 2023 study, scientists reported that they were testing the venom in humans as a potential treatment for erectile dysfunction in those for whom Viagra didn't work.

However, these bites are rare, and envenomations, or exposure to these toxins from a spider bite, are usually mild, Vetter said. For instance, a 2000 study in the journal Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo found that only 2.3% of people with bites who came to a Brazilian hospital over a 13-year period were treated with antivenom. (The other bites did not contain enough venom to require it.) Most of the bites were from the species P. nigriventer and P. keyserlingi in eastern coastal Brazil. About 4,000 bites reportedly happen each year in Brazil, but only 0.5% of those cases are severe, according to a 2018 study in the journal Clinical Toxinology in Australia, Europe, and Americas . Meanwhile, 15 deaths have been attributed to Phoneutria in Brazil since 1903, the 2018 study reported. 

"It is unlikely that the spider would inject all of its venom into you, as this venom is not only needed as a means of defense but to immobilize prey," Sewlal said. "So if it did inject all of its venom, it [would] have to wait until its body manufactured more before it could hunt." That would also leave the spider vulnerable to being attacked by predators.

Furthermore, Sewlal pointed out that venom production requires a lot of a spider's resources and time. "So if the spider were to attack frequently and use up all of its venom, it [would] be safe to assume that it has a ready food supply to replace the energy and resources used. This situation does not exist in the wild."

  • Learn more about Brazilian wandering spiders from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse .
  • Read about several species of Brazilian wandering spiders, including several images of the arachnids at the University of Florida .
  • Find a spider in your bananas? It may or may not be a deadly species, according to the University of California, Riverside .

This article was originally published on Nov. 20, 2014. 

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Jessie Szalay is a contributing writer to FSR Magazine. Prior to writing for Live Science, she was an editor at Living Social. She holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from George Mason University and a bachelor's degree in sociology from Kenyon College. 

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Brazilian Wandering (Phoneutria)

The Brazilian Wandering spider is a type of spider from the Phoneutria group. Even though they’re called “Brazilian,” not all of them come from Brazil. They’re known for having strong venom. In this post, we’ll share cool facts about these spiders and help you understand them better.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Ctenidae
  • Genus: Phoneutria

Brazilian Wandering Spider Size

List of Spiders Belonging to This Genus

Physical description and identification.

  • Size: They are large in size, with their body being 17- 48mm (.67 – 1.89 inches) long and they also have a leg span of 130 – 150 mm (5.1-5.9 inches).
  • Color: The color may vary from one species to the other, though most of them have a brown hairy body, with black spots on their stomach. Some have bright, red hairs on their mouthparts or chelicerae, while others may lack it, a feature that confuses them with species of another genus, particularly the Cupiennius.
  • Other characteristics: They often lift their body in an erect posture and hold their frontal legs high to defend themselves against predators.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Size

They are safely placed in a silken sac and the female spiders of this genus are known to lay about 1000 of them in her lifetime.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Egg

Spiderlings

They remain with their mother for some time after which they disperse to be on their own. The juvenile spiders are known to consume pin crickets as well as non-volatile fruit flies for their diet.

The spiders of this genus do not build webs but walk on the jungle floor, on the lookout for their prey.

Are Brazilian Wandering Spiders Venomous?

Yes, Brazilian Wandering Spiders have strong venom. They use it to catch their food. It’s one of the reasons they’re pretty famous.

Can Brazilian Wandering Spiders Bite?

Yes, they can bite. While they don’t always want to, they might if they feel scared or threatened by something.

Banana Spider

How Fast Can a Brazilian Wandering Spider Kill One?

It has been reported that the bite of species belonging to this genus may result in the victim’s death within one hour after the venom enters the person’s body. However, with effective anti-venom being introduced for treatment in Brazil to combat the toxic effects of these spiders, the incidence of fatalities has been less. In fact, most studies show that death mostly occurs in children below seven years of age. Of all the eight species, P. nigriventer , followed by P. fera, is said to account for most venom intoxications in Brazil.

Ecological Importance and Behavior of the Brazilian Wandering Spider

The Brazilian Wandering Spider, scientifically known as Phoneutria, stands out not just because of its reputation as one of the world’s most venomous spiders , but also due to its ecological significance and unique behavior.

Natural Predator: Despite their fearsome reputation, Brazilian Wandering Spiders are not at the top of the food chain. They fall prey to larger animals and birds. Among their predators are the coatis, certain species of large spiders, and a variety of avian predators.

Prey-Predator Dynamics: The dynamic between the Brazilian Wandering Spider and its prey is a showcase of nature’s balance. While they are efficient hunters, specializing in ambushing their prey, their own survival is constantly under threat from their predators. This cycle ensures that no one species dominates the ecosystem and that biodiversity thrives.

Relationship with Humans: The relationship between humans and the Brazilian Wandering Spider is one of respect and caution. Their venom is potent and can be harmful to humans, although fatal encounters are rare. 

Quick Facts

Brazilian Wandering Spider Picture

Did You Know

  • Species of this genus are known for wandering along the jungle floor during the night which is why they are referred to as “wandering spiders”.
  • They are alternately called “banana spiders”, a name that they also share with other species because members of this genus have often been found in banana shipments. Research in shipments going to North America showed that 7 of the 135 spiders found in such shipments were of the Phoneutria genus.
  • Phoneutria in Greek means murderess, a name perfectly attributed to its aggressive nature.

Mumpi Ghosh

Other Spiders in this Family

Wandering spiders.

Phoneutria depilata

Phoneutria depilata

Phoneutria Boliviensis

Phoneutria boliviensis

Phoneutria Fera

Phoneutria fera

Phoneutria nigriventer

Phoneutria nigriventer

Anahita punctulata

Southeastern Wandering (Anahita punctulata)

Anahita Spider

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Fact Animal

Fact Animal

Facts About Animals

Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts

Brazilian wandering spider profile.

There are more than 50,000 species of spider, and the vast majority are less dangerous than a honeybee. Almost none are aggressive, and of those with medically significant venom, only a small percentage are capable of causing death. So, on the whole, arachnophobes are just being a bit silly.

But there’s one spider that vindicates all of these fears, and few animals are as globally renowned to be a serious threat to human lives as the Brazilian Wandering Spider .

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are actually 9 species of spider in the same genus ‘Phoneutria’, one of which is found in Central America, with the rest in South America.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts

Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts Overview

These spiders are called wandering spiders because of instead of spinning a web to wait for food, or occupying a lair, they spend their night wandering in the leaf litter of the jungle floor for prey.

The sensitive hairs on its body help detect vibrations of passing prey, and it will feed on insects, lizards, frogs and any animals as large as itself.

During the day they will hide under logs, rocks, or inside termite mounds and banana plants. They will also sometimes wander into urban areas and homes, where they can come into contact with humans.

Brazilian wandering spiders are aggressive , dangerous and frightening. For once, this is an animal you should be wary of.

The females are larger, around 50% heavier than males, and produce more venom, and this might be a clue as to why their Greek name translates to “ Mudress” . These spiders will often stand and fight and have an intimidating threat display.

The potency of their venom is one of the reasons they’re so dangerous, and their ability to hide away in fruit and shoes explains why most bites are on extremities.

Interesting Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts

1. armed spiders.

In Brazilian, these are sometimes known as armed spiders, on account of their elongated front legs.

They can convey quite a bit of information with these legs, and as wandering spiders, use them to get about the forest, looking for food.

Brazilian Wandering Spider

2. Banana Spiders

They’re also sometimes called ‘banana spiders’ on account of their status as a stowaway on popular fruit imported from the tropics.

This is becoming less common as stricter regulations ensure there’s less contamination of fruits, but there’s always a chance your next bunch of bananas will have a family of these spiders living inside it.

3. They have the largest venom glands of any spider

Females produce more venom than males, but both sexes have enormous venom glands. These glands are even more impressive when you consider the size of the spider is significantly less than the largest around.

The venom glands of the Brazilian Wandering Spider are over a centimetre long, and this is all housed inside the bright red chelicerae (mouth parts) which they are quick to display whenever they get upset. 1

4. They’re aggressive

These spiders can grow quite large and have long, brightly-coloured legs. Unlike most spiders, they’re known to stand their ground when threatened and are far quicker to bite than many other species.

They’ll still try to scurry away where possible, and they’re not out to get anybody.

But where most other species will flee, the wandering spiders’ aggression does make it more likely to be involved in incidents.

Most bites are on fingers and toes, a sign that they’re being stepped on or grabbed inadvertently. When the spider feels cornered, it’ll rear up on its back legs and waves its colourful arms around as a warning.

Then it’ll sway side to side, beckoning you to have a go. Anything foolhardy enough to call this bluff gets a wealth of envenomation effects. 2 3

Brazilian Wandering Spider threat display with front legs raised

5. They give some men erections

There are ways to accomplish this with fewer side effects, but a bit from a Brazilian wandering spider does come with a certain Viagral quality.

This isn’t as fun as it might sound. Prolonged erections in this manner are likely to harm and destroy muscles and blood vessels in the penis and could cause irreparable damage.

Besides this, the assault on the central nervous system that comes with envenomation by this spider doesn’t sound worth it. 4

6. And some people die

This assault brings with it a whole host of unpleasant symptoms. Seizures, foaming at the mouth, inability to speak, collapse, and a host of other miserable experiences.

Paralysis is possible, as is cardiac shock. Blood vessels can burst in the brain, or anywhere else, and in many cases, this can be enough to kill a person.

This spider has one of the most potent venoms of all, and there are multiple legitimate records of death as a result of bites.

7. But they’re rarely fatal

While the Brazilian wandering spider is potentially one of the most dangerous spiders in the world, there is some evidence to suggest it gives a dry bite, defensively.

This means that despite exceptionally toxic venom, the amount actually injected is less than some of the other contenders, and this is what makes it typically less lethal than the Australian funnel webs.

These spiders are classified as Dangerous Wild Animals and would therefore require a special permit to keep. Bites from wandering spiders are common in South America, but antivenom is often readily available, and they rarely result in death.

In most cases, lethal bites are cases of a very young or very old victim, and few people of healthy age are killed. 5

Banana Spider

8. They do invade the UK sometimes

These unquestionably scary spiders show up in supermarkets in the UK on occasion, having hitched a ride on banana shipments.

On more than one occasion they’ve made their way into shoppers’ homes, but it doesn’t appear that there are any cases of them biting people as a result.

These spiders aren’t suited for temperate climates and don’t survive Winter, so there’s no risk of them multiplying.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Fact-File Summary

Scientific classification, fact sources & references.

  • PeerJ. (2017), “ Dimensions of venom gland of largest venom glands in all spiders ”, Bio Numbers.
  • Dave Clarke (2010), “ Venomous spider found in Waitrose shopping ‘beautiful but aggressive’” , The Guardian.
  • “ Phoneutria Perty (Arachnida: Araneae: Ctenidae) ”, UF-IFAS University of Florida
  • Kátia R.M. Leite (2012), “ Phoneutria nigriventer spider toxin Tx2-6 causes priapism and death: A histopathological investigation in mice ”, Science Direct.
  • “ Brazilian wandering spiders: Bites & other facts ”, Live Science.

Animal Corner

Discover the many amazing animals that live on our planet.

Brazilian Wandering Spider

The Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria fera) is an aggressive and highly venomous spider . It was first discovered in Brazil hence its name. However, this genus is known to exist elsewhere in South and Central America .

The Brazilian Wandering spider is a member of the Ctenidae family of wandering spiders.

The Brazilian Wandering spider appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records 2007 for being the most venomous animal .

In this particular genus, there are five known similar species whose members are also highly venomous. They include some of the relatively few species of spiders that present a threat to human beings.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Characteristics

The Brazilian wandering spider can grow to have a leg span of up to 4 – 5 inches. They are large hairy spindly-looking spiders who have eight eyes, two of which are large. Brazilian wandering spiders are fast-moving spiders, their legs are strong and spiny and they have distinctive red jaws which they display when angered.

The Brazilian wandering spider is not a Tarantula . Brazilian wandering spiders are not even in the same family group. Tarantulas are harmless to humans and are mostly ambush killers who wait for prey to come to them. Brazilian wandering spiders are active hunters. Brazilian wandering spiders and Tarantulas do have one thing in common, however, they do not eat bananas.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Habitat and Spider Webs

The Brazilian Wandering spider is so-called because it wanders the jungle floor, rather than residing in a lair or maintaining a web. This is another reason it is considered so dangerous. In densely populated areas, the Brazilian Wandering spider will usually search for cover and dark places to hide during daytime, leading it to hide within houses, clothes, cars, boots, boxes and log piles. This usually causes accidents when people disturb them.

The Brazilian Wandering spider is also called the ‘banana spider’ as it is occasionally found within shipments of bananas. As a result, any large spider appearing in a bunch of bananas should be treated with due care.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Diet

Adult Brazilian Wandering spiders eat crickets, other large insects, small lizards and mice. Spiderlings of this species eat flightless fruit flies and pinhead crickets.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Reproduction

All spiders produce silk, a thin, strong protein strand extruded by the spider from spinnerets most commonly found on the end of the abdomen. Many species use it to trap insects in webs, although there are many species that hunt freely such as the Brazilian Wandering spider. Silk can be used to aid in climbing, form smooth walls for burrows, build egg sacs, wrap prey and temporarily hold sperm, among other applications.

Brazilian Wandering spiders reproduce by means of eggs, which are packed into silk bundles called egg sacs. The male spider must (in most cases) make a timely departure after mating to escape before the females normal predatory instincts return.

Mature male spiders have swollen bulbs on the end of their palps for this purpose and this is a useful way to identify whether the spider is male or female. Once the sperm is inside the female spider, she stores it in a chamber and only uses it during the egg-laying process, when the eggs come into contact with the male sperm for the first time and are fertilized. The Brazilian Wandering spiders life cycle is 1 – 2 years.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Venom

Bites from the Brazilian Wandering spider may result in only a couple of painful pinpricks to full-blown envenomed. In either case, people bitten by this spider or any Ctenid should seek immediate emergency treatment as the venom is possibly life threatening.

The Phoneutria fera and Phoneutria nigriventer (two species of wandering spider) are the two most commonly implicated as the most vicious and deadly of the Phoneutria spiders.

The Phoneutria not only has a potent neurotoxin, but is reported to have one of the most excruciatingly painful envenoms of all spiders due to its high concentration of serotonin. They have the most active venom of any living spiders.

One of their members, the Brazilian Huntsman, is thought to be the most venomous spider in the world. Brazilian wandering spiders are certainly dangerous and bite more people than any other spiders.

Check out more  animals that begin with the letter B

More Fascinating Animals to Learn About

About joanne spencer.

I've always been passionate about animals which led me to a career in training and behaviour. As an animal professional I'm committed to improving relationships between people and animals to bring them more happiness.

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chilean rose tarantula (grammostola spatulata) on leaf, close-up - wandering spider stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

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25 Giant Spiders That Exist Around The World

Posted: May 18, 2024 | Last updated: May 18, 2024

<p>In the vast and intricate tapestry of the natural world, spiders stand out as one of the most diverse and fascinating groups of organisms. These arachnids, often feared and misunderstood, play a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance across various habitats. From the dense canopies of tropical rainforests to the secluded darkness of caves and the expansive landscapes of deserts, spiders exhibit an astonishing variety in size, behavior, and appearance. This introduction to some of the largest spiders around the globe aims to shed light on their unique characteristics, ecological importance, and the sheer marvel of their existence. As we venture into the realm of these remarkable creatures, we invite readers to explore the diversity, complexity, and beauty that spiders contribute to our world, reminding us of the incredible biodiversity that exists on our planet.</p>

In the vast and intricate tapestry of the natural world, spiders stand out as one of the most diverse and fascinating groups of organisms. These arachnids, often feared and misunderstood, play a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance across various habitats. From the dense canopies of tropical rainforests to the secluded darkness of caves and the expansive landscapes of deserts, spiders exhibit an astonishing variety in size, behavior, and appearance. This introduction to some of the largest spiders around the globe aims to shed light on their unique characteristics, ecological importance, and the sheer marvel of their existence. As we venture into the realm of these remarkable creatures, we invite readers to explore the diversity, complexity, and beauty that spiders contribute to our world, reminding us of the incredible biodiversity that exists on our planet.

<p>The Chaco Golden Knee tarantula, distinguished by its unique golden knee stripes, can attain a leg span of up to 8 inches. Originating from the grasslands of Argentina and Paraguay, this species is notable for its burrowing habits. Its docile nature makes it a favored pet among tarantula enthusiasts. Additionally, the Chaco Golden Knee is recognized for its remarkable longevity, with some specimens living up to 20 years in captivity.</p>

Chaco Golden Knee

The Chaco Golden Knee tarantula, distinguished by its unique golden knee stripes, can attain a leg span of up to 8 inches. Originating from the grasslands of Argentina and Paraguay, this species is notable for its burrowing habits. Its docile nature makes it a favored pet among tarantula enthusiasts. Additionally, the Chaco Golden Knee is recognized for its remarkable longevity, with some specimens living up to 20 years in captivity.

<p>Huntsman Spiders are renowned for their remarkable size and exceptional speed. Boasting a leg span that can surpass 12 inches, they rank among the largest spiders worldwide. These arachnids inhabit warm regions across the globe, such as Australia, Asia, and Africa. They favor residing in natural crevices and are nocturnal predators that eschew web-building.</p>

Huntsman Spider

Huntsman Spiders are renowned for their remarkable size and exceptional speed. Boasting a leg span that can surpass 12 inches, they rank among the largest spiders worldwide. These arachnids inhabit warm regions across the globe, such as Australia, Asia, and Africa. They favor residing in natural crevices and are nocturnal predators that eschew web-building.

<p>Renowned as one of the world’s most venomous spiders, the Brazilian Wandering Spider boasts a leg span of up to 5 inches. These spiders are particularly aggressive and exhibit a unique behavior by ‘wandering’ the jungle floors at night in pursuit of prey, rather than constructing webs. Their venom, containing a potent neurotoxin, attracts significant medical and scientific interest. Although they possess a fearsome reputation, human encounters remain relatively uncommon. Their existence underscores the intricate balance between fear, fascination, and the respect we owe even the most perilous of nature’s creations.</p>

Brazilian Wandering Spider

Renowned as one of the world’s most venomous spiders, the Brazilian Wandering Spider boasts a leg span of up to 5 inches. These spiders are particularly aggressive and exhibit a unique behavior by ‘wandering’ the jungle floors at night in pursuit of prey, rather than constructing webs. Their venom, containing a potent neurotoxin, attracts significant medical and scientific interest. Although they possess a fearsome reputation, human encounters remain relatively uncommon. Their existence underscores the intricate balance between fear, fascination, and the respect we owe even the most perilous of nature’s creations.

<p>The Goliath Birdeater is recognized as the world’s largest spider by mass. Found in the rainforests of South America, it boasts an impressive leg span. Weighing over 6 ounces, this spider is a true heavyweight in the arachnid world. Contrary to its name, it seldom hunts birds, instead preferring insects and small mammals.</p>

Goliath Birdeater

The Goliath Birdeater is recognized as the world’s largest spider by mass. Found in the rainforests of South America, it boasts an impressive leg span. Weighing over 6 ounces, this spider is a true heavyweight in the arachnid world. Contrary to its name, it seldom hunts birds, instead preferring insects and small mammals.

<p>The African Giant Black and White Tarantula, scientifically known as Citharischius crawshayi, can achieve a leg span of approximately 7.5 inches. It stands out because of its distinctive black and white coloration, making it one of the most visually striking tarantulas. This species is native to the forests of Central Africa and is primarily a burrower that prefers to remain hidden underground. Collectors and enthusiasts highly value this spider for its considerable size and unique appearance. However, it demands careful handling because of its defensive demeanor.</p>

African Giant Black and White Tarantula

The African Giant Black and White Tarantula, scientifically known as Citharischius crawshayi, can achieve a leg span of approximately 7.5 inches. It stands out because of its distinctive black and white coloration, making it one of the most visually striking tarantulas. This species is native to the forests of Central Africa and is primarily a burrower that prefers to remain hidden underground. Collectors and enthusiasts highly value this spider for its considerable size and unique appearance. However, it demands careful handling because of its defensive demeanor.

<p>The Brazilian Whiteknee Tarantula stands out with its striking black body and white-striped legs, reaching a leg span of up to 8.5 inches. Native to Brazil, this species is recognized for its bold patterns and sizable frame. It is a terrestrial arachnid that favors residing in well-constructed burrows. Popular in the pet trade, the Brazilian Whiteknee is admired for its impressive appearance and generally docile nature.</p>

Brazilian Whiteknee Tarantula

The Brazilian Whiteknee Tarantula stands out with its striking black body and white-striped legs, reaching a leg span of up to 8.5 inches. Native to Brazil, this species is recognized for its bold patterns and sizable frame. It is a terrestrial arachnid that favors residing in well-constructed burrows. Popular in the pet trade, the Brazilian Whiteknee is admired for its impressive appearance and generally docile nature.

<p>The Australian Funnel-Web Spider is infamous for being one of the world’s most venomous spiders. This spider can reach up to 5 inches in size, featuring a robust body and sizable fangs that can penetrate fingernails. Native to Australia, it favors moist and cool habitats, frequently residing in shaded gardens and forests. Although its venom is highly dangerous, bite incidents are rare, and antivenom is readily available.</p>

Australian Funnel-Web Spider

The Australian Funnel-Web Spider is infamous for being one of the world’s most venomous spiders. This spider can reach up to 5 inches in size, featuring a robust body and sizable fangs that can penetrate fingernails. Native to Australia, it favors moist and cool habitats, frequently residing in shaded gardens and forests. Although its venom is highly dangerous, bite incidents are rare, and antivenom is readily available.

<p>The Ecuadorian Purple Tarantula is a breathtaking species known for its vibrant purple hue, which makes it stand out among tarantulas. It can achieve a leg span of up to 6 inches and is indigenous to the rainforests of Ecuador. This arboreal species prefers residing in trees, where it spins silk retreats to ambush its prey. Its stunning coloration and arboreal lifestyle make it a highly sought-after species among spider enthusiasts and collectors.</p>

Ecuadorian Purple Tarantula

The Ecuadorian Purple Tarantula is a breathtaking species known for its vibrant purple hue, which makes it stand out among tarantulas. It can achieve a leg span of up to 6 inches and is indigenous to the rainforests of Ecuador. This arboreal species prefers residing in trees, where it spins silk retreats to ambush its prey. Its stunning coloration and arboreal lifestyle make it a highly sought-after species among spider enthusiasts and collectors.

<p>The Ornamental Tree Spider, specifically Poecilotheria metallica, is renowned for its striking metallic blue coloration. With a leg span that can reach up to 7 inches, this species is native to India. An arboreal creature, it is highly sought after in the pet trade due to its beauty and rarity. The spider prefers residing in the hollows of trees, where it constructs silk retreats to remain concealed and ambush its prey.</p>

Ornamental Tree Spider

The Ornamental Tree Spider, specifically Poecilotheria metallica, is renowned for its striking metallic blue coloration. With a leg span that can reach up to 7 inches, this species is native to India. An arboreal creature, it is highly sought after in the pet trade due to its beauty and rarity. The spider prefers residing in the hollows of trees, where it constructs silk retreats to remain concealed and ambush its prey.

<p>The Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantula is a remarkable species that can have a leg span of up to 10 inches. This tarantula, native to the forests of Uruguay and Brazil, is distinguished by its large size and tawny-red hairs. It is a burrowing spider, known for digging deep burrows to live in and to ambush prey. Although sizable, it poses little danger to humans, as its bite, while painful, is not medically serious.</p>

Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantula

The Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantula is a remarkable species that can have a leg span of up to 10 inches. This tarantula, native to the forests of Uruguay and Brazil, is distinguished by its large size and tawny-red hairs. It is a burrowing spider, known for digging deep burrows to live in and to ambush prey. Although sizable, it poses little danger to humans, as its bite, while painful, is not medically serious.

<p>The Carolina Wolf Spider holds the distinction of being the largest wolf spider in North America, boasting a leg span that can reach up to 4 inches. This species is known for its hunting tactics on the ground, relying on its speed and agility instead of creating webs. It possesses outstanding night vision, which it uses to hunt prey during nighttime. The role of the Carolina Wolf Spider as a natural pest controller emphasizes the functional diversity of spiders, highlighting their crucial role in maintaining ecological balance in various ecosystems.</p>

Carolina Wolf Spider

The Carolina Wolf Spider holds the distinction of being the largest wolf spider in North America, boasting a leg span that can reach up to 4 inches. This species is known for its hunting tactics on the ground, relying on its speed and agility instead of creating webs. It possesses outstanding night vision, which it uses to hunt prey during nighttime. The role of the Carolina Wolf Spider as a natural pest controller emphasizes the functional diversity of spiders, highlighting their crucial role in maintaining ecological balance in various ecosystems.

<p>Poecilotheria Rajaei is an exceptionally large tarantula native to Sri Lanka, with a leg span reaching up to 8 inches. This species belongs to the ‘tiger spider’ group, which is distinguished by its unique patterns and colors. It typically resides in old trees, making its habitat particularly susceptible to deforestation. The spider is remarkable not only for its size but also for its role in contributing to biodiversity and maintaining the ecological balance in its environment.</p>

Poecilotheria Rajaei

Poecilotheria Rajaei is an exceptionally large tarantula native to Sri Lanka, with a leg span reaching up to 8 inches. This species belongs to the ‘tiger spider’ group, which is distinguished by its unique patterns and colors. It typically resides in old trees, making its habitat particularly susceptible to deforestation. The spider is remarkable not only for its size but also for its role in contributing to biodiversity and maintaining the ecological balance in its environment.

<p>The Venezuelan Sun Tiger is a fascinating species of tarantula known for its vivid orange and black coloration. This smaller tarantula can grow up to a leg span of approximately 6 inches and is indigenous to Venezuela. Being an arboreal species, it resides in trees and creates intricate webs to ensnare its prey. Its stunning appearance and assertive hunting methods make it a captivating creature for tarantula aficionados.</p>

Venezuelan Sun Tiger

The Venezuelan Sun Tiger is a fascinating species of tarantula known for its vivid orange and black coloration. This smaller tarantula can grow up to a leg span of approximately 6 inches and is indigenous to Venezuela. Being an arboreal species, it resides in trees and creates intricate webs to ensnare its prey. Its stunning appearance and assertive hunting methods make it a captivating creature for tarantula aficionados.

<p>The Red Knee Tarantula is easily recognizable by its vibrant red knees contrasted against a dark body. With a leg span of about 5.5 inches, it is one of the most iconic and photographed tarantula species. Native to Mexico, it is a burrowing spider that prefers to live in underground tunnels. Its docile nature and striking appearance have made it a favorite among tarantula keepers worldwide.</p>

Red Knee Tarantula

The Red Knee Tarantula is easily recognizable by its vibrant red knees contrasted against a dark body. With a leg span of about 5.5 inches, it is one of the most iconic and photographed tarantula species. Native to Mexico, it is a burrowing spider that prefers to live in underground tunnels. Its docile nature and striking appearance have made it a favorite among tarantula keepers worldwide.

<p>The Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater is an impressive species due to its vivid coloration and considerable size. With a leg span reaching up to 10 inches, it ranks among the largest tarantulas in the world. This tarantula is indigenous to Brazil and is easily identified by its unique salmon-pink hairs. Despite its formidable look, the Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater is typically regarded as having a gentle disposition toward humans.</p>

Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater

The Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater is an impressive species due to its vivid coloration and considerable size. With a leg span reaching up to 10 inches, it ranks among the largest tarantulas in the world. This tarantula is indigenous to Brazil and is easily identified by its unique salmon-pink hairs. Despite its formidable look, the Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater is typically regarded as having a gentle disposition toward humans.

<p>The Texas Brown Tarantula, scientifically known as Aphonopelma hentzi, is commonly seen in the southern United States. It can have a leg span of up to 6 inches, making it one of the larger spider species in North America. This ground-dwelling tarantula is often found in open areas where it hunts small insects and arthropods. Known for its docile nature, it is a popular choice among tarantula enthusiasts as a pet.</p>

Texas Brown Tarantula

The Texas Brown Tarantula, scientifically known as Aphonopelma hentzi, is commonly seen in the southern United States. It can have a leg span of up to 6 inches, making it one of the larger spider species in North America. This ground-dwelling tarantula is often found in open areas where it hunts small insects and arthropods. Known for its docile nature, it is a popular choice among tarantula enthusiasts as a pet.

<p>The Golden Silk Orb-Weaver is renowned for its remarkable web, which features a golden sheen visible under sunlight. With a leg span reaching up to 5 inches, this spider can be found in warm regions around the world. The strength and beauty of its silk have inspired biomimetic research for applications in materials science. The Golden Silk Orb-Weaver’s ability to spin such extraordinary webs is a testament to the evolutionary marvels of nature, showcasing the intricate and beautiful solutions developed for survival.</p>

Golden Silk Orb-Weaver

The Golden Silk Orb-Weaver is renowned for its remarkable web, which features a golden sheen visible under sunlight. With a leg span reaching up to 5 inches, this spider can be found in warm regions around the world. The strength and beauty of its silk have inspired biomimetic research for applications in materials science. The Golden Silk Orb-Weaver’s ability to spin such extraordinary webs is a testament to the evolutionary marvels of nature, showcasing the intricate and beautiful solutions developed for survival.

<p>The King Baboon Spider, native to East Africa, can grow to have a leg span of up to 8 inches. Known for its strikingly hairy body and large, powerful fangs, it uses these features to subdue its prey. This species is a burrowing tarantula, spending much of its time within the safety of its underground lair. It is considered one of the more aggressive tarantula species, which makes it a less common choice for a pet.</p>

King Baboon Spider

The King Baboon Spider, native to East Africa, can grow to have a leg span of up to 8 inches. Known for its strikingly hairy body and large, powerful fangs, it uses these features to subdue its prey. This species is a burrowing tarantula, spending much of its time within the safety of its underground lair. It is considered one of the more aggressive tarantula species, which makes it a less common choice for a pet.

<p>Renowned for its distinctive appearance, the Feather-Legged Orb Weaver showcases delicate, feather-like structures on its legs. Although not the largest spider in terms of body size, it spins large and intricate webs to ensnare its prey. Found in various habitats across the globe, this spider exhibits a diverse array of colors and patterns. Its webs are masterpieces of natural engineering, typically constructed in locations where they can capture morning dew or sunlight, resulting in a stunning, shimmering effect.</p>

Feather-Legged Orb Weaver

Renowned for its distinctive appearance, the Feather-Legged Orb Weaver showcases delicate, feather-like structures on its legs. Although not the largest spider in terms of body size, it spins large and intricate webs to ensnare its prey. Found in various habitats across the globe, this spider exhibits a diverse array of colors and patterns. Its webs are masterpieces of natural engineering, typically constructed in locations where they can capture morning dew or sunlight, resulting in a stunning, shimmering effect.

<p>Though not true spiders, Camel Spiders are frequently talked about in discussions of large arachnids because of their notable size, which can reach up to 6 inches. These creatures thrive in desert environments and are recognized for their speed and intimidating appearance. While they are not venomous, their large jaws can inflict a painful bite. Camel Spiders are nocturnal predators that mainly consume various ground-dwelling insects and small animals.</p>

Camel Spider

Though not true spiders, Camel Spiders are frequently talked about in discussions of large arachnids because of their notable size, which can reach up to 6 inches. These creatures thrive in desert environments and are recognized for their speed and intimidating appearance. While they are not venomous, their large jaws can inflict a painful bite. Camel Spiders are nocturnal predators that mainly consume various ground-dwelling insects and small animals.

<p>The Greenbottle Blue Tarantula is famous for its striking blue legs and green carapace, making it one of the most visually captivating spiders. Although its leg span is about 6 inches, making it not the largest, it is undoubtedly one of the most colorful. This species originates from Venezuela and is highly sought after in the pet trade thanks to its remarkable appearance and generally calm demeanor. Additionally, it is a superb web constructor, spinning intricate silk creations to catch its prey.</p>

Greenbottle Blue Tarantula

The Greenbottle Blue Tarantula is famous for its striking blue legs and green carapace, making it one of the most visually captivating spiders. Although its leg span is about 6 inches, making it not the largest, it is undoubtedly one of the most colorful. This species originates from Venezuela and is highly sought after in the pet trade thanks to its remarkable appearance and generally calm demeanor. Additionally, it is a superb web constructor, spinning intricate silk creations to catch its prey.

<p>The Yellow Blue Tarantula, renowned for its distinctive coloration, can reach a leg span of approximately 8 inches. Native to South America, this species is admired for its stunning contrast of colors. It primarily inhabits forested regions, where it preys on insects and smaller animals. Experienced enthusiasts often seek the Yellow Blue Tarantula as a pet due to its beauty and the challenge it presents in handling large spiders.</p>

Yellow Blue Tarantula

The Yellow Blue Tarantula, renowned for its distinctive coloration, can reach a leg span of approximately 8 inches. Native to South America, this species is admired for its stunning contrast of colors. It primarily inhabits forested regions, where it preys on insects and smaller animals. Experienced enthusiasts often seek the Yellow Blue Tarantula as a pet due to its beauty and the challenge it presents in handling large spiders.

<p>Cerbalus Aravaensis is recognized as the largest spider in the Middle East, boasting a leg span of up to 5.5 inches. This nocturnal hunter roams the sand dunes of the Arava Valley, perfectly adapted to the harsh desert environment. Its significant size and strength enable it to prey on insects, small lizards, and other spiders. The spider’s sandy coloration offers superb camouflage within its desert habitat, making it an effective and stealthy predator.</p>

Cerbalus Aravaensis

Cerbalus Aravaensis is recognized as the largest spider in the Middle East, boasting a leg span of up to 5.5 inches. This nocturnal hunter roams the sand dunes of the Arava Valley, perfectly adapted to the harsh desert environment. Its significant size and strength enable it to prey on insects, small lizards, and other spiders. The spider’s sandy coloration offers superb camouflage within its desert habitat, making it an effective and stealthy predator.

<p>The Colombian Giant Tarantula features an impressive leg span of up to 8 inches, coupled with strikingly vibrant colors. Native to Colombia, this species is highly prized by tarantula enthusiasts for its aesthetic appeal. Known for its burrowing behavior, the tarantula typically waits for prey in its burrow rather than hunting in the open. Despite its intimidating appearance, it poses minimal threat to humans and is more inclined to flee than to attack.</p>

Colombian Giant Tarantula

The Colombian Giant Tarantula features an impressive leg span of up to 8 inches, coupled with strikingly vibrant colors. Native to Colombia, this species is highly prized by tarantula enthusiasts for its aesthetic appeal. Known for its burrowing behavior, the tarantula typically waits for prey in its burrow rather than hunting in the open. Despite its intimidating appearance, it poses minimal threat to humans and is more inclined to flee than to attack.

<p>The Singapore Blue is an arboreal tarantula distinguished by its striking blue coloration and notable size, with a leg span that can extend up to 9 inches. This species is indigenous to the rainforests of Singapore and Malaysia, where it typically resides high in the tree canopy. Known for its aggressive nature and rapid movements, it poses a challenge for novice tarantula enthusiasts. Despite these challenges, the Singapore Blue’s captivating appearance and intriguing behavior have made it a popular and sought-after species in the exotic pet trade.</p>

Singapore Blue

The Singapore Blue is an arboreal tarantula distinguished by its striking blue coloration and notable size, with a leg span that can extend up to 9 inches. This species is indigenous to the rainforests of Singapore and Malaysia, where it typically resides high in the tree canopy. Known for its aggressive nature and rapid movements, it poses a challenge for novice tarantula enthusiasts. Despite these challenges, the Singapore Blue’s captivating appearance and intriguing behavior have made it a popular and sought-after species in the exotic pet trade.

<p>The European Cave Spider, notable for its impressive leg span of up to 4 inches, thrives in the shadowy, moist environments of caves and mines. This arachnid is adept at spinning large, complex orb webs to capture its prey, playing a crucial role in managing insect populations in these isolated areas. Despite its reclusive nature, the European Cave Spider significantly contributes to maintaining ecological balance, showcasing the variety of life forms that flourish in darkness. Their presence highlights the importance of conserving even the most secluded habitats, ensuring the preservation of the intricate web of life that lies beneath the surface.</p>

European Cave Spider

The European Cave Spider, notable for its impressive leg span of up to 4 inches, thrives in the shadowy, moist environments of caves and mines. This arachnid is adept at spinning large, complex orb webs to capture its prey, playing a crucial role in managing insect populations in these isolated areas. Despite its reclusive nature, the European Cave Spider significantly contributes to maintaining ecological balance, showcasing the variety of life forms that flourish in darkness. Their presence highlights the importance of conserving even the most secluded habitats, ensuring the preservation of the intricate web of life that lies beneath the surface.

In wrapping up our study of the world’s largest spiders, it’s clear that their intrigue goes beyond mere size; they play a crucial role in our ecosystems. Acting as natural pest controllers, they are essential components of the food web. This deep dive into the world of these extraordinary arachnids underscores the importance of biodiversity and the urgency to protect their habitats from dangers like deforestation and climate change. By understanding and respecting these giants, we can help dispel fears and deepen our appreciation for their contribution to nature’s equilibrium. Let’s keep in mind the significance of these spiders and the broader message of conservation and coexistence they embody in our shared world.

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  1. Brazilian wandering spiders: Bites & other facts

    Brazilian wandering spiders' venom is a complex cocktail of toxins, proteins and peptides, ... Space photo of the week: 'God's Hand' leaves astronomers scratching their heads. 2.

  2. Phoneutria nigriventer

    Phoneutria nigriventer is a species of medically significant spider in the family Ctenidae, found in the Southern Cone of South America (Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina). Along with other members of the genus, they are often referred to as Brazilian wandering spiders.. Its bite can cause severe symptoms, including increased pulse, blood pressure, and respiratory rate; extraordinary ...

  3. Phoneutria

    Phoneutria is a genus of spiders in the family Ctenidae.They are mainly found in northern South America, with one species in Central America. Members of the genus are commonly referred to as Brazilian wandering spiders. Other English names include armed spiders (armadeiras in Brazilian Portuguese) and banana spiders (a name shared with several others).

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  5. Brazilian Wandering Spiders (Phoneutria): Facts ,Identifications & Pictures

    Size: They are large in size, with their body being 17- 48mm (.67 - 1.89 inches) long and they also have a leg span of 130 - 150 mm (5.1-5.9 inches). Color: The color may vary from one species to the other, though most of them have a brown hairy body, with black spots on their stomach. Some have bright, red hairs on their mouthparts or ...

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    The bite of Brazilian wandering spiders can be lethal.(Photo Credit : Epic Wildlife / Youtube) The venom is a complex cocktail of toxins, peptides and proteins that affects ion channels and chemical receptors in victims' neuromuscular systems.

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    The venom glands of the Brazilian Wandering Spider are over a centimetre long, and this is all housed inside the bright red chelicerae (mouth parts) which they are quick to display whenever they get upset. 1. 4. They're aggressive. These spiders can grow quite large and have long, brightly-coloured legs.

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    The Brazilian wandering spider can grow to have a leg span of up to 4 - 5 inches. They are large hairy spindly-looking spiders who have eight eyes, two of which are large. Brazilian wandering spiders are fast-moving spiders, their legs are strong and spiny and they have distinctive red jaws which they display when angered.

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  14. Brazilian wandering spider, juvenile

    Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria nigriventer), juvenile, from tropical rainforest, Sao Miguel, Arcanjo, Sao Paulo, Brazil, June. Taken as part of the meetyourneighbours.net project. MYN/Joao P. Burini/NATURE PICTURE LIBRARY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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    Brazilian wandering spider, Phoneutria sp., Amazon. Phoneutria spiders are aggressive predators and many species have venom that is dangerous to humans. Francesco Tomasinelli/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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    It comes in black, beige, brown, and red colors. brazilian wandering spider pic stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images. Captured Phoneutria Nigriventer Spider in a glass container. Phoneutria nigriventer spider, known as the armed spider, monkey spider, or banana spider, captured and stored in a glass container. A dangerous, aggressive ...

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    Renowned as one of the world's most venomous spiders, the Brazilian Wandering Spider boasts a leg span of up to 5 inches. These spiders are particularly aggressive and exhibit a unique behavior ...