Sunday, 9 February 2014

Spider tales

Here's a spider I photographed in my kitchen last night. A member of the Huntsman family of spiders, this is a Giant crab or Banana spider, known as a babouk in Reunion Creole (latin: Heteropoda venatoria). I see these spiders fairly often, but this is the first time I've managed to get such a good picture of one.

Heteropoda venatoria / Giant crab or Banana spider / babouk

Unfortunately the photo doesn't give much sense of scale, but the body is about an inch long (including legs it's almost the size of my hand). If you look closely at the photo you can see the erect bristles, known as setae, on the legs, each of which is marked with a black dot. Females can produce 100-400 spiderlings. These spiders often live in houses and don't spin webs but capture insects directly, injecting them with venom. I'm rather arachnophobic, but these spiders do eat cockroaches so I try and let them be!

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