Location: Ecuador Rain Forest
March 3, 2011 3:43 pm
I spotted this spider during a night hike near the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve in Ecuador. The length of the body was about 1.5”, and fore leg tip to rear leg tip about 3”. The bright coloring certainly indicated ”stay away” to me. The legs appeared slightly blue under my flashlight. The body is a reddish orange.
Signature: John R. Anderson
This is a beautiful Spider. We believe it is a Huntsman Spider in the family Sparassidae, also known as Giant Crab Spiders. Huntsman Spiders do not build webs and many are nocturnal hunters that wander about in search of prey. Most Huntsman Spiders are harmless, though their large size often induces fear when they are encountered. It is our understanding that there are some dangerous venomous South American Huntsman Spiders, and the aposematic warning colors on this specimen may indicate that it is a highly venomous species.
Karl provides some insight
Hi Daniel and John:
What a lovely spider! It’s too bad the eyes aren’t visible as they are often the best way to determine a spider’s family. It has been said often on this site that you can’t trust everything you find on the internet when it comes to bug identification, and here is a good example of why that is sage advice. I thought I was on the right track when I found this image of what was identified as a Wandering Spider (Ctenidae), but the trail soon grew cold and I got suspicious. I little more searching turned up this promising photo of a Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae), but again I could find nothing more to confirm that this was the right beast. Finally, I came across several photos suggesting it belonged to the family Platoridae. In this case, however, I couldn’t even confirm that this family still exists, with several sites suggesting that it had been dismantled and re-distributed among several other families (e.g., Trochanteriidae). If I had to choose I would probably favour a Wandering Spider, but this is going to require a lot more expertise than I have to offer (and I have to run and pack for Mexico, with bugs and spiders on my brain). Regards. Karl