The giant huntsman spider, the biggest spider on Earth

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The giant huntsman spider
The giant huntsman spider is the biggest spider on Earth. Unlike other spiders, this spiderspecie does not create spiderwebs. Instead, it hunts in its own unique way. It attacks its prey while running and jumping simultaneously. This kind of hunting is only practiced in caves. Some spiders are found in deep caves. These spiders have lost their sight due the fact that their eyes lost their purpose.

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The discovery of the giant huntsman spider
The giant huntsman spider has been discovered in 2001 by a German scientist. He named the spider ‘Heteropoda maxima’. Heteropoda maxima belongs to the ‘Sparassidae’ family. The giant huntsman spider is sometimes called ‘giant crab spider’. The scientist who discovered the spider, found the animal nearby the exits of caves.

Laos caves
The caves where the spider exists, are almost unreachable. The tegion is located in the (sub)tropical forest of Laos. It does not happen often that a human comes across this type of spider. Other spider species are therefore discovered earlier. The forest where it lives, is located in the Northern side of Laos. Scientists who discovered the spider, were amazed by its size. It can grow this big because of different reasons.

The reasons of its gigantic growth
Huntsman spiders appear in different lengths. They become about five inches or thirteen centimeters in average. Females are slightly bigger on average. His environment is also affecting its size. The biggest spiders can be found inside caves. They can reach a lenght of about twelf inches, or thirty centimeters. His name origins from its huge size and appearance.

The origin of his nickname
The giant huntsman spider has been named by the appearance of his huge legs. His legs are comparable to the kind of legs crabs have. They are shaped the same way, plus they are colored identically with dark stripes. These stripes have a brown/blackish color. The spider is also named after his typical way of hunting. He actually pro-actively hunts his prey. The crabspin is on the other hand, a more passive animal. This spider just sits and waits till his prey walks by.

An active way of hunting
Most spider species create a web to catch their prey. They use their spidergland to create such a web. This way, they don’t have to actively hunt. Allthough the giant huntsman spider has a spidergland, it does not use it most of the time. Instead, he hunts in a special way.

His unique way of hunting
During the hunt, the creature moves in a running and jumping fashion. Thanks to his flexibility and speed, he is able to jump one meter across. It uses his poison to paralyze his victim. It is strongly adviced to be carefull with these animals. Once bitten, a painfull sensation can be felt. Either though, the spider is not deadly. This is caused by evolution and its environment. The small creatures it hunts, can be killed with a minimun amount of poison. He mostly attacks different kind of small insects.

The giant huntsman spider’s evolution
Evolution causes animal species to envolve in different ways. The same way, different kind of spiders have been envolved. This increments the chances of a specie to survive. Even within a specie, differences can be found. In case of the giant huntsman spider, the differences can be seen easily. The amount of eyes can vary, which is very noticable.

Different amount of eyes
The amount of eyes a giant huntsman spider has, can vary in a wide range. Most regular spiders have eight eyes. Due the fact that this spider mostly lives in dark caves, these eyes would have no function. This caused these spiders to lose their eyes during its evolution. Scientists discovered spiders with only two eyes or no eyes at all. These spiders live in deep caves. They don’t see any daylight. Due this fact, they completely lost their eyes. These spiders are on average smaller than the ones who have multiple eyes.

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The giant huntsman spider, the biggest spider on Earth, Seekyt
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.