What Is the World’s Biggest Spider?

The Goliath birdeater (Theraphosa blondi) belongs to the tarantula family Theraphosidae. Found in northern South America, it is the largest spider in the world by mass 175 g (6.2 oz) and body length up to 13 cm (5.1 in) but it is second to the giant huntsman spider by leg span.[1] It is also called the Goliath bird-eating spider; the practice of calling theraphosids “bird-eating” derives from an early 18th-century copper engraving by Maria Sibylla Merian that shows one eating a hummingbird. Despite the spider‘s name, it rarely preys on birds.[2]

Found in northern South America , it is the largest spider in the world by mass 175 g (6.2 oz) and body length up to 13 cm (5.1 in) but it is second to the giant huntsman spider by leg span. [1] It is also called the Goliath bird-eating spider ; the practice of calling theraphosids “bird-eating” derives from an early 18th-century copper engraving by Maria Sibylla Merian that shows one eating a hummingbird .

[4] Birdeaters are one of the few tarantula species that lack tibial spurs, located on the first pair of legs of most adult males. Unlike other species of spider/tarantula, females do not eat the males during mating. Colors range from dark to light brown with faint markings on the legs.

The female lays 100 to 200 eggs, which hatch into spiderlings within 68 weeks. Like all tarantulas, T. blondi spiders have fangs large enough (24 cm or 0.791.57 in) to break the skin of a human. Despite its name, the Goliath birdeater only rarely actually preys on birds; in the wild, its diet consists primarily of other large arthropods , worms , and amphibians .

[9] However, because of its size and opportunistic predatory behavior, this species commonly kills and consumes a variety of insects and small terrestrial vertebrates . They do not consume their prey in the open; rather, they drag it back to their burrow and begin the digesting process. [10] In the wild, T. blondi has been observed feeding on rodents , frogs , toads , lizards , and even snakes .

The spider is part of the local cuisine in northeastern South America, prepared by singeing off the urticating hairs and roasting it in banana leaves. ^ World’s biggest spider face-off – see which bug wins here Archived October 23, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Herzig, Volker; King, Glenn F. (2013). “The Neurotoxic Mode of Action of Venoms from the Spider Family Theraphosidae”.

The stridulatory setae of Acanthoscurria suina (Araneae, Theraphosidae) and their possible role in sexual communication: an experimental approach” (PDF) .

What is the largest spider ever found?

The world’s largest known spider 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.

What is the 2 biggest spider in the world?

Giant Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) ….Goliath Birdeater Tarantula (Theraphosa blondi) ….Hercules Baboon Spider (Hysterocrates hercules) ….Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater (Lasiodora parahybana) ….Grammostola anthracina. ….Chaco golden-knee (Grammostola pulchripes)

Is there a bigger spider than the Goliath birdeater?

Some sources say the giant huntsman spider, which has a larger leg span, is bigger than the birdeater.

Science, Tech, Math Animals & Nature The 10 Biggest Spiders in the World Share Flipboard Email Print There are many spiders as big as your hand (or even larger). Antonio Alba / EyeEm / Getty Images Animals & Nature Insects Spiders Basics Behavior & Communication Ants. Bees, & Wasps Beetles Butterflies & Moths Ticks & Mites True Bugs, Aphids, Cicadas, and Hoppers Amphibians Birds Habitat Profiles Mammals Reptiles Marine Life Forestry Dinosaurs Evolution View More By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Facebook Twitter Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on July 10, 2019 Do you suffer from a fear of spiders or arachnophobia? If so, you probably don’t want to see the world’s biggest spiders. But remember: knowledge is power! Get the facts about these creepy crawly species and find out exactly where they live so that you can plan your vacation accordingly. Key Takeaways: The World’s Biggest Spiders Most of the world’s biggest spiders belong to the tarantula family. The largest spiders can eat small birds, lizards, frogs, and fish. Giant spiders tend not to be aggressive, but they will bite to defend themselves or their egg sacs. Most large spiders are relatively nonvenomous. There are exceptions. Male spiders have specialized appendages called setae used to produce sounds for defense and sexual communication. The largest spiders produce sounds (stridulation) loud enough for humans to hear. 01 of 10 Goliath Birdeater: 12 Inches Bird eating spider eating. John Mitchell / Getty Images The Goliath birdeater (Theraphosa blondi) is the world’s largest spider by mass, weighing in around 6.2 oz (175 g). It is a type of tarantula. The spider can bite and sometimes delivers a venom comparable to that of a wasp sting. Its barbed hairs present a greater threat, as they can lodge in the skin and eyes, producing itching and irritation for days. As its name implies, this spider sometimes eats birds. However, it’s probably more afraid of you than you are of it, since humans who live in its habitat catch it and cook it (tastes like shrimp). Where It Lives: In burrows in the rainforests and swamps of northern South America. If you like, you can keep one as a pet. 02 of 10 Giant Huntsman Spider: 12 Inches Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.) with beetle prey, Ulu Selangor, Selangor, Malaysia. up close with nature / Getty Images While the Goliath birdeater is the most massive spider, the giant huntsman (Heteropoda maxima) tends to have longer legs and a bigger appearance. Huntsman spiders are recognizable by the twisted orientation of their legs, which gives them a crab-like walk. These spiders can deliver a venomous bite that may require hospitalization. If you live in a warm climate, listen for the rhythmic ticking sound made by the males, which resembles that of a quartz clock. Where It Lives: The giant huntsman is only found in a cave in Laos, but related enormous huntsman spiders live in all the warm and temperate regions of the planet. 03 of 10 Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater: 11 Inches Lasiodora sp. in Brazil. MPiraj Nature Photography / Getty Images The third largest spider, the Brazilian salmon pink birdeater (Lasiodora parahybana) is only an inch smaller than the biggest spider. Males have longer legs than females, but females weigh more (over 100 grams). This large tarantula readily breeds in captivity and is considered to be docile. However, when provoked, the salmon pink birdeater can deliver a bite comparable to that from a cat. Where It Lives: In the wild, this species lives in the forests of Brazil. However, it’s a popular captive pet, so you’ll see them in pet stores and possibly your neighbor’s house. 04 of 10 Grammostola anthracina: 10+ Inches Grammostola rosea. Davidexuvia / Getty Images Be sure to visit South America if you’re seeking enormous spiders. Grammastola anthracina is another large species. It’s a popular pet tarantula that’s unlikely to bite you unless you forget to feed it mice or crickets. Grammostola species can live up to 20 years. Where It Lives: This spider lives in Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina. 05 of 10 Colombian Giant Tarantula: 6-8 Inches Orange-kneed Tarantula (Megaphobema mesomelas). Dorit Bar-Zakay / Getty Images The Colombian giant tarantula or Colombian giant redleg (Megaphobema robustum) eats mice, lizards, and large insects, so you could keep one for home pest control. However, Megaphobema is best known for its aggressive temperament. It’s not the bite you need to worry about. Real (or imagined) threats may cause the spider to spin, striking out with spiked rear legs. Where It Lives: Find it in a pet store or near logs in the tropical rainforests of Brazil and Colombia. 06 of 10 Face-Sized Tarantula: 8 Inches Poecilotheria rajaei. Ranil Nanayakkara / British Tarantula Society Tarantulas don’t only live in Central and South America. The face-sized tarantula (Poecilotheria rajaei) has adapted to deforestation in Sri Lanka, to make its home in abandoned buildings. The spider‘s common name is self-explanatory. Its scientific name, Poecilotheria, translates from Greek to mean “spotted wild beast.” It likes to eat birds, lizards, rodents, and even snakes. Where It Lives: Old growth trees or old building in Sri Lanka and India. 07 of 10 Hercules Baboon Spider: 8 Inches King baboon spider (Pelinobius muticus). www.universoaracnido.com The only known specimen of the Hercules baboon spider was captured in Nigeria about one hundred years ago and resides at the Natural History Museum in London. It got its name from its habit of eating baboons (not really). Actually, it’s named for the resemblance between its legs and a baboon’s fingers. The king baboon spider (Pelinobius muticus) lives in East Africa and slowly grows to 7.9 inches (20 cm). Harpactirinae is another subfamily of spiders commonly called baboon spiders. They are tarantulas native to Africa that deliver a strong venom. Where It Lives: The Hercules baboon spider may (or may not) be extinct, but you can get somewhat smaller baboon spiders as pets (often inaccurately identified as the Hercules baboon). However, this tarantula seems permanently angry, and is not a good choice for a beginner. 08 of 10 Camel Spider: 6 Inches Wild black camel spider hunting at night in Morocco. Kristian Bell / Getty Images This spider gets its name because it eats camels for breakfast (not really). The camel spider (order Solfigae) is often camel-colored and lives in the desert. It’s sort of a cross between a scorpion and a true spider, with two gigantic chelicerae (fangs) that it uses for biting and for making creepy spider sounds (stridulation). Unless you’re a sprinter, this spider can chase and catch you, with a top speed around 10 mph (16 km/h). Take comfort in the knowledge it is nonvenomous. Where It Lives: Find this beauty in any warm desert or scrubland. You’re safe (from this spider) in Australia. It has never been seen in Antarctica, if that helps. 09 of 10 Brazilian Wandering Spider: 5.9 Inches Phoneutria nigriventer (Brazilian wandering spider). Joao Paulo Burini / Getty Images It’s not the biggest spider on the list, but it’s the scariest. The Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria fera) or banana spider looks like a tarantula, but it isn’t one. That’s bad, because tarantulas, as a whole, aren’t out to get you and aren’t particularly venomous. The Brazilian wandering spider made the 2010 Guinness World Book of Records as the world’s most venomous spider. Guinness doesn’t have a category for aggressiveness, but if they did, this spider would likely top that list too. When it’s relaxing at home, this spider eats mice, lizards, and large insects. As its name implies, it wanders searching for a meal. Its travels have taken it to a Whole Foods in Oklahoma and a Tesco in Essex. The spider is said to be so venomous, it can kill a person within 2 hours. It’s also said to cause a 4-hour erection in men. You can do the math and puzzle that one out. Where It Lives: While it’s from South America, you might encounter it in the produce section of your local grocery store. 10 of 10 Cerbalus Aravaensis: 5.5 Inches Cerbalus aravaensis at Samar Sands. Mickey Samuni-Blank Dehydration and sunburn aren’t the only threats you’ll face if you find yourself in the hot sand dunes of the Arava Valley of Israel and Jordan. Be on the lookout for the largest huntsman spider in the Middle East. This spider constructs its den within the shifting sand, but comes out to party at night. Scientists don’t think it’s particularly venomous, but no one has tested the hypothesis. Where It Lives: You should see the Sands of Samar before these unique sand dunes vanish, but do watch out for spiders. They mostly come at night. Mostly. Sources Menin, Marcelo; Rodrigues, Domingos De Jesus; de Azevedo, Clarissa Salette (2005). “Predation on amphibians by spiders (Arachnida, Araneae) in the Neotropical region”. Phyllomedusa. 4 (1): 3947. doi:10.11606/issn.2316-9079.v4i1p39-47 Platnick, Norman I. (2018). The World Spider Catalog, Version 19.0. New York, NY, USA: American Museum of Natural History. doi:10.24436/2 Perez-Miles, Fernando; Montes de Oca, Laura; Postiglioni, Rodrigo; Costa, Fernando G. (December 2005). “The stridulatory setae of Acanthoscurria suina (Araneae, Theraphosidae) and their possible role in sexual communication: an experimental approach”. Iheringia, Serie Zoologia. 95 (4): 365371. doi:10.1590/S0073-47212005000400004 Wolfgang Bcherl; Eleanor E. Buckley (2013-09-24). Venomous Animals and Their Venoms: Venomous Invertebrates. Elsevier. pp. 237. ISBN 978-1-4832-6289-5. Featured Video Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. “The 10 Biggest Spiders in the World.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 1, 2021, thoughtco.com/biggest-spiders-in-the-world-4172117. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2021, August 1). The 10 Biggest Spiders in the World. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/biggest-spiders-in-the-world-4172117 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. “The 10 Biggest Spiders in the World.” ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/biggest-spiders-in-the-world-4172117 (accessed December 7, 2021). copy citation

The world’s largest known spider 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 have also been reported from Venezuela and Brazil.

A two year old spider of the same species, bred by Robert Bustard and reared by Brian Burnett of Alyth, Perthshire also had a leg span of 28 cm (11 in) and weighed 170 g (6 oz) in February 1998.

There are estimated to be over 46,000 species of spiders alive today, stretching their eight legs all across the world in every continent and country except Antarctica. These many species come in all shapes and sizes, and a handful of the most venomous spiders can actually be very dangerous for humans, leading to death if bitten.

They are found only in Laos , but their slightly smaller relatives the huntsmen live in warm and temperate climates around the world. The twisted, splays orientation of the huntsmans legs can give them a crab-like walk, but these spiders are fast a trait they use to hunt down their prey.

Goliath birdeaters live in the swamps and rainforests of northern South America, though despite their name dont frequently eat birds more usually preying on invertebrates, mice, frogs, and lizards at night. When under threat they often rear up on their hind legs and show their fangs, or fire their barbed hairs at attackers with can lodge in skin or eyes, causing irritation for days. Hercules baboon spiders are native to Africa and famed as being enormous and aggressive, though havent been seen in the wild since 1900 .

Although these spiders are considered docile, when provoked Brazilian salmon pink bird eater can deliver a bite with their 2-centimeter fangs thats comparable to a cat, with no venom that impacts humans. They are quite common as pets as aside from their stunning looks they breed readily in captivity, and dont spin large webs or burrow, so make good display tarantulas. Grammostola anthracina belong to the tarantula family, and live in scrub, desert areas and grasslands in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Their diet consists of insects and small reptiles and invertebrates including beetles, moths, grasshoppers, lizards, cockroaches, and mealworms. Like the Brazilian salmon pink birdeaters, Grammostola anthracina are popular as pets due to their looks, size, and behaviour. Even though they are one of the largest spider species in the world they are considered gentle giants, having a l aid back, docile temperament .

Although theyre not particularly venomous, these spiders are known to be particularly aggressive, commonly spinning and striking out with their spiked rear legs, so steer clear if you see one in the wild. As with most other spiders on this list Colombian giant tarantulas live on a mix of whatever mice, small lizards, and large insects they can find. Their bites are not deadly to humans, but their venom allows them to kill animals as large as mice, lizards, and small birds and snakes before eating them.

Thankfully the rumours were exactly that, and whilst camel spiders do use digestive fluids to liquefy their victims flesh, and have jaws one third the size of their 15 centimeters body length, they are not dangerous to humans. The truth is that the venom of the Brazilian wandering spider is extremely potent , but its not particularly good at injecting it into humans. The Cerbalus aravaensis is an extremely rare species of huntsmen spider found only in the Arava Valley of Israel and Jordan.

This spider is the most endangered species on this list as its limited habitat is in imminent danger of destruction from agriculture and sand quarries.

Description[edit]

These spiders can have a legspan up to 30 cm (12 in),

Lifecycle[edit]

Unlike other species of spider/tarantula, females do not eat the males during mating. Females mature in 3–6 years and have an average lifespan of 15 to 25 years. Males die soon after maturity and have a lifespan of three to six years. Colors range from dark to light brown with faint markings on the legs. Birdeaters have hair on their bodies, abdomens, and legs. The female lays 100 to 200 eggs, which hatch into spiderlings within 6–8 weeks.

Defenses[edit]

In response to threats, Goliath birdeaters stridulate by rubbing setae on their pedipalps and legs.Like all tarantulas,

Feeding[edit]

Despite its name, the Goliath birdeater only rarely actually preys on birds; in the wild, its diet consists primarily of other large arthropods, worms, and amphibians.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Goliath birdeater is native to the upland rain forest regions of northern South America: Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana, northern Brazil, and southern Venezuela. Most noticeable in the Amazon rainforest, the spider is terrestrial, living in deep burrows, and is found commonly in marshy or swampy areas. It is a nocturnal species.

Goliath birdeater as food[edit]

The Goliath birdeater is an edible spider. The spider is part of the local cuisine in northeastern South America, prepared by singeing off the urticating hairs and roasting it in banana leaves. The flavor has been described as “shrimp-like”.