Subject: Is this a rain spider
Location: Nelspruit Area
July 21, 2017 4:00 am
Hi – This spider seems to be referred to as a rain spider or a huntsman – what is it actually called and what is the difference between this and a wolf spider
Signature: Richard

Huntsman Spider

Dear Richard,
From what we have learned on BioDiversity Explorer, Rain Spider is a name used in South Africa for members of the genus
Palystes.  Your individual looks like it might be Palystes castaneus which is pictured on BioDiversity Explorer, or Palystes superciliosus which is also pictured on BioDiversity Explorer where it states that it is “the most common and widespread species of the genus. It is distribution ranges from Kwazulu-Natal then westwards to Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo, Gauteng and south through the Free State to the Eastern and Western Cape. Its favoured habitat is scrubland and savannah woodland and it is also typically found in houses.”  Huntsman Spider is a name used in many parts of the world for spiders in the family Sparassidae, also commonly called Giant Crab Spiders, and this is the family that includes the South African Rain Spiders.  So in South Africa, Rain Spider is a term used for a specific genus within the family that includes other Huntsman Spiders, meaning all Rain Spiders are Huntsman Spiders but not all Huntsman Spiders are Rain Spiders.  Wolf Spiders are in a different family.  Scientists classify creatures into families based on physical similarities.  An easy way to distinguish Huntsman Spiders from Wolf Spiders is the eye arrangement pattern.  Both Huntsman Spiders and Wolf Spiders hunt for prey rather than to hunt passively by building a web to snare prey.

Location: Nelspruit, South Africa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *