Sunday, June 16, 2013
CARL MARSHALL: New oop spider at Butterfly Farm
[ED: ...tried to reduce these photos via BB code and can't get them to...]
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This is Heteropoda venatoria or more commonly known as the brown huntsman, giant crab spider or the Laya. H. venatoria is a cosmopolitan species introduced into and now occurring in the US in sub-tropical areas of Florida, Texas and California. It is presumed to have been introduced from Asia, where many of its closest relatives are found. It is sometimes mistaken for a brown recluse spider Loxosceles reclusa and the Brazilian Wandering spider Phoneutria nigriventer, but is neither related nor is it dangerous.
H. venatoria are large brown spiders with a flattened body structure and very little dorsal pattern, with adults having a body length of 2.2 - 2.8 cm and have a leg span approximately of 7 - 12 cm.
These and similar species belonging to the taxonomic family Sparassidae are highly valued in tropical countries because they capture and feed on cockroaches and other domestic insect pests such as silverfish.
As with other vagrant species H. venatoria do not use webbing to capture their prey.
This specimen arrived this morning (Sat 15th) from Fyffes plc, a fruit ripening company with a large site based in Coventry. This individual seems to have been transported from Florida.
http://forteanzoology.blogspot.com/2013 ... er-at.html
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