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Huntsman Spider (Heteropoda venatoria)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Huntsman Spider

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The enormous and powerful Huntsman Spider could give almost anyone arachnophobia.

Updated: 01/04/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Although this species of spider is already established in the Southeast, sometimes they stow away on produce from Mexico or Central America and land in other states in the U.S.. This robust arachnid prefers to live in warm climates. As part of the Crab Spider family, this spider is comfortable stretching its first 2 or 3 pairs of legs forward, giving it more of a crab-like appearance. They are able to walk sideways and backward as well as forward. Females are heavier, but males have longer legs. All are brown with a darker area near the strong and large mouthparts.

These spiders are night predators, preying on cockroaches and other insects found traveling the bark of trees. They will eat small bats if they can catch them. Huntsman Spiders sometimes make their way into houses and barns. In a few places, they are welcomed by homeowners thanks to their steady diet of residential nuisances like scorpions, however, most people do not want them inside.

Males shake their legs, creating a dull, low buzzing sound in an effort to attract females. It is just audible in a quiet room and may be mistaken for a ticking clock. Females lay fertilized eggs in silken sac and carry it around in their jaws until the spiderlings hatch. Females will aggressively defend an egg sac. All Huntsman Spiders will deliver a painful bite if threatened. The symptoms from a bite can range from swelling and pain or include vomiting, headaches, and faster heart rate in victims depending on how much venom was injected. ©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Sparassidae
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          Genus: Heteropoda
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            Species: venatoria

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Heteropoda venatoria
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 19mm to 24mm (0.74" to 0.94")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: yellow; brown; black; tan; white
Descriptors: large; hairy; biting; venomous

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 19mm (0.7in) and 24mm (0.9in)
Lo: 19mm
Md: 21.5mm
Hi: 24mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Huntsman Spider may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Huntsman Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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