Huntsman Spiders

The huntsman spider is a family of fast-running spiders, named after their predatory nature. They are large, and their legs are even longer. Scientifically the family name is Sparassidae. The family has around 1,368 types of huntsman spiders, distributed under 88 genera.

Spiders Belonging to this Family

Genus

Carparachne Palystes Delena
Micrommata Leucorchestris Heteropoda

Species

Giant Huntsman Spider Green Huntsman Spider White Lady Spider
Avondale Spider Rain Spider Cane Spider
Cartwheel Spider

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

Size: Average size of huntsman spiders is around 1 in (2.54 cm), the leg span is about 5 in (12.7 cm).

Color: The abdomen and legs are mostly brown or gray, but the underside has black and white markings with occasional red patches. Needless to say, these patterns are not visible in all, rather they vary from one species to another.

Other Characteristic Features: There are front-facing 8 eyes, divided into two rows. The legs are joined in a twisted pattern, similar to crabs.

Eggs

Female spiders make egg sacs and lay eggs inside the sac. Some spiders attach the sac to the grassland or vegetation they live in, some spiders prefer to attach the sac to their bodies. In a single clutch, there are around 200 eggs. Upon laying the eggs, the female spider guard them at the cost of their lives. They protect eggs and spiderlings for 3 weeks at a stretch.

Spiderlings

The mother spider moistens the egg sac so that the hatchlings can easily come out of it.

The Web

Huntsman spiders do not build webs and opt for hunting down their preys.

Are Huntsman Spiders Venomous

The huntsman spiders are not generally aggressive, but female spiders can be extremely protective of their eggs and spiderlings, and they can give painful bites for defending their offspring. As far as venom is concerned, it is used for immobilizing the prey and does not have fatal effects on humans. Still, a severe bite from any member of the family can cause vomiting, nausea, swelling, heart palpitations, and more. However, the venom might be neurologically toxic. The outcome of the inflicted venom depends on the species and genus.

Quick Facts

Other Names Giant crab spiders, wood spiders, certain members of the family is known as lizard-eating spiders and rain spiders
Distribution Found across Asia, Africa, South and North America, and Australasia
Habitat Tree barks, backyards, garages, and outhouses
Diet invertebrates, geckos, and skinks
Lifespan Around 2 years

Did You Know

  • The giant huntsman spider or Heteropoda maxima is the world’s largest spider in terms of its leg span. The leg span could be around 1 ft.
  • Once a giant huntsman spider reportedly ate an entire pygmy possum.
  • The spiders are rarely kept as pets.