Wandering spider in Ecuadorian Chocó
January 1, 2010
Dear Bugman!
Being in Ecuador there is plenty of opportunity for ecological experience.
On a night walk in a forest area in Puerto Quito (Western lowland, Chocó region) I almost stepped on this interesting fellow in December 2009. It was a rainy night.
The spider was standing on the ground, hardly moving, even when I measured its body length. It was about 31-32 mm, and its leg span between 11 and 12 cm. Quite impressive and grey as a wolf.
However, I can’t tell wether this might be a giant crab spider/huntsman spider or a wandering spider. The animal was not aggressive at all, but turned into a defensive position (shown on the other photo) when I measured it with a “paper ruler”.
When I returned later it had disappeared.
Might this even be a Phoneutria species?
Thank you so much for an answer, I’m very curious!
Dan Jestrzemski,
Puerto Quito, Western Ecuador

Unknown Spider

Unknown Spider

Happy New Year Dan,
We don’t really have the necessary skills to answer your questions, but we will post your photos in the hopes that one of our readers might assist.  In North America, Giant Crab Spiders or Huntsman Spiders in the family Sparasidae are quite harmless, though it is our understanding that some tropical Huntsman Spiders can be quite venomous.  We would not discount your speculation that this might be a dangerous Wandering Spider in the genus Phoneutria which may be seen on Wikipedia.

Unknown Spider

Unknown Spider

Location: Ecuador

2 Responses to Wandering Spider or Huntsman Spider from Ecuador

  1. stuart longhorn says:

    Even though late to comment, i feel is worthwhile here as this is an important spider to recognise. It is indeed ones of the Phoneutria spp. For that region, really you’ve got the diverse options of P.fera, P.reydei, and P.boliviensis, and a 2013 paper by Hazzi et al. in Zootaxa is useful to look at to know what species most likely range into Ecuador. Really, to make identification, a photo of the abdomen underside or leg banding helps immensely, as they’ll raise four front legs in threat and show markings underneath. Unfortunately if that happens, you probably don’t want too be too close photographing … caution needed.

    • bugman says:

      Dear Stuart,
      Thank you so much for your confirmation of this identification. Your assistance is greatly appreciated, and late is relative on the internet as there are always new visitors.

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