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Brazilian Wandering (Phoneutria)

The Brazilian Wandering spiders is a name mostly assigned to the species belonging to the Phoneutria genus, though all of them are not indigenous to Brazil. Species of this genus are notorious for being venomous, with their bites having an adverse impact on humans.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Size

List of Spiders Belonging to This Genus

Phoneutria bahiensis Phoneutria boliviensis Phoneutria eickstedtae
Phoneutria fera Phoneutria keyserlingi Phoneutria nigriventer
Phoneutria pertyi Phoneutria reidyi  

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

Size: They are large in size, with their body being 17- 48mm (.67 – 1.89 inches) long and they also have a leg span of 130 – 150 mm (5.1-5.9 inches).

Color: The color may vary from one species to the other, though most of them have a brown hairy body, with black spots on their stomach. Some have bright, red hairs on their mouthparts or chelicerae, while others may lack it, a feature that confuses them with species of another genus particularly the Cupiennius.

Other characteristics: They often lift their body in an erect posture and hold their frontal legs high to defend themselves against predators.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Size

Eggs

They are safely placed in a silken sac and the female spiders of this genus are known to lay about 1000 of them in her lifetime.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Egg

Spiderlings

They remain with their mother for some time after which they disperse to be on their own. The juvenile spiders are known to consume pin crickets as well as non-volatile fruit flies for their diet.

The Web

The spiders of this genus do not build webs but walk on the jungle floor, on the lookout for their prey.

Do the Brazilian Wandering Spiders Bite and Are They Poisonous

They are one among the few spider species to pose a threat to mankind. Their venom is known to be a combination of proteins, peptides, and toxins which when inflicted upon humans could result in symptoms such as intense pain and burning sensation besides other side effects like a slow heartbeat, an increase or decrease in blood pressure, blurred vision, vertigo, increased sweating, abdominal cramping, and nausea. It is also known to priapism (erection of the penis) in men which may last for a long time and ultimately lead to impotence. 

However, these spiders bite only when provoked or in an attempt to save themselves from any impending danger. Experts have also sited that they mostly try conserving their venom and give a dry bite, lessening the chances of their toxic wastes to be induced into humans. In fact, it is actually their trait of wandering about that makes them so dangerous since species of this genus hide in dingy places like log piles, shoes, clothes, boots and boxes, and may bite if disturbed accidentally.

Banana Spider

How Fast Can a Brazilian Wandering Spider Kill One

It has been reported that the bite of species belonging to this genus may result in the victim’s death within one hour after the venom enters the person’s body. However, with effective anti-venom being introduced for treatment in Brazil to combat the toxic effects of these spiders, the incidence of fatalities have been less. In fact, most studies show that death mostly occurred in children below seven years of age. Of all the eight species, P. nigriventer, followed by P. fera, are said to account for most venom intoxications in Brazil.

Quick Facts

Other names Armed spiders, banana spiders
Distribution Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Guyana, Ecuador
Habitat Jungle floors in the wild, and also in dark, dingy places like cars, log piles, boxes, and clothes,
Lifespan 1-2 years
Diet Insects, mice, reptiles, small amphibians as well as other spiders
Predators Wasps like a tarantula hawk
Brazilian Wandering Spider Picture

Did You Know

  • Species of this genus are known for wandering along the jungle floor during the night which is why they are referred to as “wandering spiders”.
  • They are alternately called “banana spiders”, a name that they also share with other species because members of this genus have often been found in banana shipments. Research in shipments going to North America showed that 7 of the 135 spiders found in such shipments were of the Phoneutria genus.
  • Phoneutria in Greek means murderess, a name perfectly attributed to its aggressive nature.

Image Credits: Scienceabc.com, Animalstime.com, I.pinimg.com, 1.bp.blogspot.com

The Brazilian Wandering spiders is a name mostly assigned to the species belonging to the Phoneutria genus, though all of them are not indigenous to Brazil. Species of this genus are notorious for being venomous, with their bites having an adverse impact on humans.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Size

List of Spiders Belonging to This Genus

Phoneutria bahiensis Phoneutria boliviensis Phoneutria eickstedtae
Phoneutria fera Phoneutria keyserlingi Phoneutria nigriventer
Phoneutria pertyi Phoneutria reidyi  

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

Size: They are large in size, with their body being 17- 48mm (.67 – 1.89 inches) long and they also have a leg span of 130 – 150 mm (5.1-5.9 inches).

Color: The color may vary from one species to the other, though most of them have a brown hairy body, with black spots on their stomach. Some have bright, red hairs on their mouthparts or chelicerae, while others may lack it, a feature that confuses them with species of another genus particularly the Cupiennius.

Other characteristics: They often lift their body in an erect posture and hold their frontal legs high to defend themselves against predators.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Size

Eggs

They are safely placed in a silken sac and the female spiders of this genus are known to lay about 1000 of them in her lifetime.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Egg

Spiderlings

They remain with their mother for some time after which they disperse to be on their own. The juvenile spiders are known to consume pin crickets as well as non-volatile fruit flies for their diet.

The Web

The spiders of this genus do not build webs but walk on the jungle floor, on the lookout for their prey.

Do the Brazilian Wandering Spiders Bite and Are They Poisonous

They are one among the few spider species to pose a threat to mankind. Their venom is known to be a combination of proteins, peptides, and toxins which when inflicted upon humans could result in symptoms such as intense pain and burning sensation besides other side effects like a slow heartbeat, an increase or decrease in blood pressure, blurred vision, vertigo, increased sweating, abdominal cramping, and nausea. It is also known to priapism (erection of the penis) in men which may last for a long time and ultimately lead to impotence. 

However, these spiders bite only when provoked or in an attempt to save themselves from any impending danger. Experts have also sited that they mostly try conserving their venom and give a dry bite, lessening the chances of their toxic wastes to be induced into humans. In fact, it is actually their trait of wandering about that makes them so dangerous since species of this genus hide in dingy places like log piles, shoes, clothes, boots and boxes, and may bite if disturbed accidentally.

Banana Spider

How Fast Can a Brazilian Wandering Spider Kill One

It has been reported that the bite of species belonging to this genus may result in the victim’s death within one hour after the venom enters the person’s body. However, with effective anti-venom being introduced for treatment in Brazil to combat the toxic effects of these spiders, the incidence of fatalities have been less. In fact, most studies show that death mostly occurred in children below seven years of age. Of all the eight species, P. nigriventer, followed by P. fera, are said to account for most venom intoxications in Brazil.

Quick Facts

Other names Armed spiders, banana spiders
Distribution Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Guyana, Ecuador
Habitat Jungle floors in the wild, and also in dark, dingy places like cars, log piles, boxes, and clothes,
Lifespan 1-2 years
Diet Insects, mice, reptiles, small amphibians as well as other spiders
Predators Wasps like a tarantula hawk
Brazilian Wandering Spider Picture

Did You Know

  • Species of this genus are known for wandering along the jungle floor during the night which is why they are referred to as “wandering spiders”.
  • They are alternately called “banana spiders”, a name that they also share with other species because members of this genus have often been found in banana shipments. Research in shipments going to North America showed that 7 of the 135 spiders found in such shipments were of the Phoneutria genus.
  • Phoneutria in Greek means murderess, a name perfectly attributed to its aggressive nature.

Image Credits: Scienceabc.com, Animalstime.com, I.pinimg.com, 1.bp.blogspot.com

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