Six Legged Spider?
Sun, Nov 2, 2008 at 5:12 PM
Can you identify this spider, and is it harmful? I thought it was odd becuase it has only 6 hairy legs. It’s leg span is about 4 inches. I did not kill it, because I figured to be that size it must be eating a lot of other bugs. I have attached a photo. Thanks . . . Joan
Punta Gorda, FL
You are a good person, and wise to not have killed this male Huntsman Spider, Heteropoda venatoria. Huntsman Spiders are also called Banana Spiders or Giant Crab Spiders and they are nocturnal hunting spiders that do not spin webs, preferring to hunt their prey. They are valued in many areas because they consume cockroaches.
Thanks for your reply. I am surpised that you did not comment on his 6 legs. Isn’t that unusual for a spider? I thought spiders generally have 8 legs. I have attached a photo of another spider taken last year about this time. At the time I had identified it as a Huntsman by comparing it to photos on the website. Now I am not sure if that was corrrect. It was about the same size, but looked different from the 6 legged guy. It wasn’t as hairy. It also behaved differently. Last year’s spider moved very quickly if approached, whereas the 6 legged guy stayed put, and let me take lots of pictures.
Thanks again. Since moving to Florida, I have been fasinated by the spiders . . .
The six legged specimen is a male and your new photo is a female Huntsman Spider. They have sexual dimorphism, meaning the sexes have pronounced visual differences. In some animals, the differences are so pronounced that they appear to be different species. Often spiders lose legs, and occasionally, if they are young enough, the legs partially regenerate. Not so with your male Huntsman.