Hunstman Spider

Monday, September 19, 2011

Natural History Notes
by Bob Thomas

Huntsman Spiders, Heteropoda, is one of our largest spiders. They are members of the Family Sparassidae, that of the “giant crab spiders.” Its not that they are so big, but that they have very long legs and they rest by lying flat on the surface with the legs bent and spread out, making them look larger than they really are. They remain very still when approached, but are also very fast when they decide to move. Put the large size with the fast movement and you have a spider that scares people. In the fall, these spiders can become very common in our swamp areas. At times, all the rails along the boardwalks at Jean Lafitte Park have a number of Huntsman Spiders lying in wait for prey.

These spiders don’t construct webs to catch their prey. They simply run them down.

In tropical areas, people like to have them in their houses because they eat roaches. The females carry their flat, round white egg sacs in their jaws (like the Nursery Web Spiders).