There are more than 43,000 known spider species. They are all arachnids. But not all arachnids are spiders. Mites, ticks, scorpions and similar creatures are also classed as arachnids.
Encountering any arachnids in the closet, the corner, on the counter, in the bathroom or under the covers will almost always induce a sense of revulsion, or even an involuntary shudder. But when it comes to inducing fear the spider tops the list.
Even though most all spiders carry venom only about two dozen carry a venom that is toxic to humans. But spiders primarily use venom to stun or kill their prey.
In the continental United States the most common venomous spiders are the black widow and the brown recluse. But records spanning more than twenty years do not indicate a single death that is directly attributable to either spider.
That is not the case in Australia, home to the Funnel Web Spider, the deadliest spider in the world. It is truly a fearsome creature. Several medical studies have identified forty different toxic proteins in its venom. It has been responsible for several deaths in the state of New South Wales.
With so many species of spiders it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that they come in all sizes. The smallest species known is the Patu digua spider. Some examples have been found that are an astounding 0.014 inches in size. The Samoan moss spider at 0.011 inches long is another diminutive wonder.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is Theraphosa Blondi, a type of tarantula that is big enough to cover a dinner plate. It is generally known as the Goliath Birdeater Spider. Some examples have been measured at more than eleven inches in length. These giants can weigh nearly a half pound.
Generally known as the Goliath Birdeater they eat arthropods, not birds. According to National Geographic, the name was given after the printing of an engraving that showed a tarantula eating a hummingbird published in the late 18th century.
In some areas of the Amazon basin in South America, the Goliath Birdeater isn’t feared. It is eaten. In fact it is considered a delicacy. The hairs are singed off, and then it is roasted in banana leaves.
One of the most fascinating things about the Goliath Birdeater Spider is its ability to replace a lost leg. The process is not fully understood. But apparently after it looses a leg this spider has the ability to increase fluid pressure in its body. This causes the carapace, the hard shell covering, to pop off at the weakend point.
Then it pumps fluid, under pressure, into the skin which stretches into the shape of a new leg! Within several hours the carapace regrows over the new leg.
The Goliath Birdeater, however, is not the largest spider. That claim to fame belongs to the Giant Huntsman spider. Some examples have a leg span of more than twelve inches!
Regardless of your arachnid infestation, there is no need for fear or worry. Baron Service in Bullhead City, Arizona on the Colorado River is one of the oldest and largest pest control companies. And we are just one phone call away.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America