What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Banded Huntsman Spider
Location: Near Cusco, Peru
May 24, 2012 6:51 am
Buenas Dias, Daniel! This beauty appeared in our kitchen 3 days ago. We see these guys all the time, they also come in solid black. This one is much larger and fatter than the usual, so we believe she is a female, possibly pregnant? We found her mate, maybe, dying on the windowsill. She is a little more coffee colored than this photo shows, but you get the idea. We’ll keep an eye on her for spiderlings. Loving your book, thanks for writing it!
Signature: offthegridinperu

Huntsman Spider

Dear offthegridinperu,
Thanks for sending us your photo of a South American Huntsman Spider.  We have been informed by Eric Eaton that the bite of some South American Huntsman Spiders can be dangerous to humans.  We are happy to hear you are enjoying The Curious World of Bugs

Uh oh. I believe you are absolutely correct – and from a quick wiki search, I need to move her outside. Thank you!!

Hello again,
Because of your thoughtful relocation, we are going to tag this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.  We should clarify that not all Huntsman Spiders are dangerous, however, we cannot vouch for the difference between harmless and dangerous species.  Huntsman Spiders tend to be docile, nocturnal hunters that often prey upon Cockroaches.  The should be considered beneficial.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Peru

6 Responses to Huntsman Spider from Peru

  1. offthegridinperu says:

    Wow thanks Daniel …and Eric! We live in the Andes, so I am not sure if that makes a difference in poison potential. Either way, thank you for alerting us to be more cautious since they live with us in the kitchen, every day! They are very docile and neither of us wants to be molested, so we’re getting along just fine! About an hour ago, she disappeared into a crack and I don’t blame her since it’s been a cold winter down here!

    • bugman says:

      We don’t want to be alarmist and we hope your up until now peaceful cohabitation doesn’t change because on unnecessary paranoia. We would imagine if they were truly dangerous, you would have heard about it from your neighbors, though there are often very curious local superstitions that have no validity. One of our favorites such stories is that of the Machaca, a local name for a Lanternfly, Fulgora laternaria, a curious insect that is also called a Peanut Headed Bug. Though we rarely quote Wikipedia, we are quite amused with this local lore: “In several countries, such as Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, there exists the myth that if somebody is bitten by the machaca, he or she must have sex within 24 hours to prevent an otherwise incurable death.” It is easy to imagine that line being used on a reluctant paramour.

  2. Lisa Jakub says:

    Ashley Robbins posted on WhatsThatBug.com for you on FB. Maybe they will know. We used to see these out where we lived in Williams in the woods too but never knew what they were…just freaked me out though! Yuck!

  3. My mom days it’s some kind of beetle.

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