What’s the Biggest Spider in the World?

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) .

Is there a spider bigger than the Goliath birdeater?

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

What's the biggest spider in the world 2021?

The Goliath birdeater is the world’s largest spider, by weight and body-size. The goliath bird-eating spider has an 11-inch leg span.

What is the world's biggest 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.

Are Goliath birdeater poisonous?

It’s deadly to small creatures, but the Goliath’s venom is not lethal to humans. A bite would sting about as much as a wasp’s. The giant spider is a delicacy in some parts of South America—though its urticating hairs are carefully singed away before the spider is roasted in banana leaves.

Unlike many spider species, huntsman spiders “don’t build webs to catch prey,” said Christy Bills, an entomologist and the invertebrate collections manager at the Natural History Museum of Utah. Instead, these spiders hunt down their prey.

An image of a female huntsman spider ( Heterpoda venatoria ) taken in a home in West Bengal, India. Kingdom : Animalia Subkingdom : Bilateria Infrakingdom : Protostomia Superphylum : Ecdysozoa Phylum : Arthropoda Subphylum : Chelicerata Class : Arachnida Order : Araneae Family : Sparassidae Genus & species : Heteropoda maxima

The huntsman runs after or ambushes its prey, killing it with venom and strong mouthparts, called the chelicerae. Once captured, the prey will be injected with deadly venom from glands within the spider‘s body, according the University of Florida. According to the Australian Reptile Park , although huntsman are venomous and their bites can be painful to humans, they do not cause anything more serious than mild nausea or headaches.

According to the Australian Museum, their mating ritual can last for several hours and involves lengthy caresses and other demonstrations of interest. The male drums his pedipalps antennae-like appendages near the mouth against tree trunks before inserting them into the female to fertilize her eggs. (Image credit: Elliekay/Public Domain ) After mating, the female lays up to 200 eggs and encases them in a large, oval, spun-silk sac.

According to the University of Florida’s Entomology and Nematology Department, some females carry the sac with them under their bodies, which severely restricts their movements.

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.

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. 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. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated 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-intheworld-4172117. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2021, August 1). The 10 Biggest Spiders in the World. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/biggest-spiders-intheworld-4172117 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. “The 10 Biggest Spiders in the World.” ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/biggest-spiders-intheworld-4172117 (accessed December 6, 2021). copy citation

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”.

What do huntsman look like?

Because of their size, huntsman spiders are sometimes incorrectly identified as tarantulas. One way to tell a huntsman from a tarantula is by the position of the creature’s legs. Most spiders’ legs bend vertically under the body. “Huntsman spiders usually have legs that are splayed out to the sides, crablike,” Bills said. In fact, huntsman spiders are also referred to as giant crab spiders.Huntsman spiders’ legs have twisted joints, which allow the appendages to extend forward like a crab’s and their alignment allows the spider to move side-to-side, also similar to a crab. Males have longer legs, although females have larger bodies. “Colors and patterns vary,” Bills said. The spiders’ legs are typically gray or brown, and banded.Many huntsman species’ bodies have a flattened appearance, ideal for squeezing into tight places, according to the Australian Museum.

Where are they found?

According to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), the taxonomy of giant huntsman spiders is:

Where environments so they live in?

Bills extolled the huntsman’s speed: “They can often be quite large and very quick.” In fact, the huntsman spider can move up to a yard (almost 1 meter) a second, she said. The spider typically lives under loose bark on trees, under rocks, in crevices and under foliage. Huntsman spiders, especially Australian species, are notorious for entering houses and cars. According to the Australian Museum, they have been “found hiding behind sun visors or running across the dashboard.” These spiders can be social, and dozens will sometimes sit together on dead trees or stumps.

What do huntsman eat?

The huntsman runs after or ambushes its prey, killing it with venom and strong mouthparts, called the chelicerae. Once captured, the prey will be injected with deadly venom from glands within the spider‘s body, according the University of Florida. The huntsman can also be a valuable spider because it eats cockroaches, in addition to other spiders and domestic insect pests.
Huntsman are not deadly to humans. According to the Australian Reptile Park, although huntsman are venomous and their bites can be painful to humans, they do not cause anything more serious than mild nausea or headaches. Usually localized swelling and pain are the only symptoms of a huntsman spider bite.

How do huntsman reproduce?

Compared to other spider species that eat their mates, huntsman spiders are downright romantic. According to the Australian Museum, their mating ritual can last for several hours and involves lengthy caresses and other demonstrations of interest. The male drums his pedipalps — antennae-like appendages near the mouth — against tree trunks before inserting them into the female to fertilize her eggs.After mating, the female lays up to 200 eggs and encases them in a large, oval, spun-silk sac. “Some huntsmans are dedicated mothers,” Billa said. They “look after their egg sacs, guarding them fiercely.”According to the University of Florida’s Entomology and Nematology Department, some females carry the sac with them under their bodies, which severely restricts their movements. Others place the sac under a rock or piece of bark and stand over it, without eating, for up to three weeks. In both cases, females may become aggressive when guarding their egg sacs.According to the Australian Reptile Park, at birthing time, the mother may tear the egg sac open to help her spiderlings emerge. She’ll then stay with the babies for several weeks. Baby huntsmen are pale in color and darken with each molt. Huntsman spiders can live for more than two years.