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

Huntsman Spider

Huntsman Spider

Hi Joan,
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.

Hi Daniel,
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 . . .

Huntsman Spider female

Huntsman Spider female

Hi Joan,
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.

18 Responses to Huntsman Spider

  1. Becky says:

    We found one of the 6 legged males in our bedroom last night, about 3 inches leg span. Unfortunately, as my sister and I are huge arachnophobes, the spider was disposed of. But before it was moved, it made a strange noise, almost like a cross between a hiss, a squelch and cling film being crumpled. Was this a mating call or were we all hallucinating?
    And bite wise, (we’re in France), do we have anything to worry about if we find another one in our bed?

    • bugman says:

      We did not know that Huntsman Spider stridulated, which is the term for rubbing together body parts to make noise. Large Huntsman Spiders might bite, but the common species, also known as the Banana Spider, is not considered dangerous.

  2. Aubrey says:

    Can this spider live in Georgia?

  3. Mary says:

    I found one of these in the bathroom of my new home and mistaken it for a RECLUSE SPIDER…. I unfortunately killed it, and feel terrible for doing so. 🙁

  4. Josh B says:

    Found one at our home in Clinton, TN…North of Knoxville. I killed it. Because I am a human. And it wasn’t. 8 legged bugger. Biggest I’d seen in the wild. How can I post a picture so you can tell me for sure?

  5. Chris says:

    OMG! have one in my lillys. 6 legs and has spun a web around some of the blooms and laid 2 pods of eggs. Just back from vacation and there it was! Hasn’t moved for two days straight. I am in Northern Wisconsin, considered zone 4, somestimes zone 5.

    • bugman says:

      Are you sure it isn’t a harmless Fishing Spider, a more typical species in your area.

      • Chris says:

        Thank You…. you are right – (of Course). It is definitely guarding its eggs, and it is very similar to the other photos posted. There are in fact 8 legs – 2 to the front and 2 behind. Very long and slender looking and it has the dark diamond or triangle shape on its back. I will try to post a photo! thanks SO much. best and quickest answer I have received!

  6. lauren says:

    I had one that had 6 legs and a bunch of eggs in kelowna bc canada… but you say males have 6 legs. …? Not the female?

    • bugman says:

      Huntsman Spiders, both male and female, should have eight legs, but they occasionally lose one or more legs for a variety of traumatic reasons, hence individuals with only seven, six, five or possibly even fewer legs.

  7. Rita Kozel says:

    Hello Mr. Bugman
    I have a friend who has little red spots on his legs, believed to be spider bites after sleeping in a bed at his Mom and Dad’s home in Punta Gorda Floria. Any idea as to what species of spider it might be?

  8. Natacha says:

    I did not know that Huntsman spiders are to been seen in South Africa?

  9. Cory says:

    I just found one of these in southern oregon

  10. Andrew says:

    Hello Mr.bugman I live in Tallassee Alabama,and we get these giant spiders that get to be 3 or 4 inches long with yellow,black,and white spots on them. What are they?

  11. Mary Helne says:

    I found a 6 legged very fuzzy spider{?}flattened against the wall of my garden shed here in the Northern Neck of VA. What could it be? Several hours later it had moved and was not to be seen.

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