Tags: goliath | birdeater | spider | puppy | rain forest

Goliath Birdeater: Spider as Big as a Puppy Running Around Rain Forest

By    |   Monday, 20 Oct 2014 08:08 AM

The goliath birdeater, a spider as big as a puppy and with two-inch fangs, was encountered running around in the rainforest of Guyana by a Harvard researcher this month. Its leg span was about a foot long.



Piotr Naskrecki, an entomologist and photographer at Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology, wrote on his blog The Smaller Majority that the South African Goliath birdeater, arguably the largest spider in the world, sounds more like a mammal as it moves through the rainforest. Despite its name, Naskrecki noted that it rarely eats birds, rather feasting on rodents and earth worms for the most part.

"For all the arachnophobes out there this is probably a good excuse to pave over large swaths of the Amazonian rainforest, but for the rest of us this species is one of biodiversity's crown jewels," wrote Naskrecki.

"Goliath birdeaters are ridiculously huge for a land arthropod. … Although definitely capable of killing small birds, they rarely have a chance to do so while scouring the forest floor at night (however, there is some anecdotal evidence that they may feed on bird eggs if they run across a nest). Rather, they seem to be feeding on what is available in this moist and warm habitat, and what is available is earthworms – lots of them," Naskrecki continued.

According to National Geographic, the Goliath birdeater finds its best meals at night when it ambushes its prey by laying a silk web near its burrow and then hiding out until rodent or some other small mammal stumbles in.

"(The web) acts like a tripwire, letting her know when something has ventured within range," noted National Geographic. "Even with eight eyes, Goliaths-like most spiders, (they) have weak vision. They're alerted to the presence of prey by vibrations rippling across their sensitive hairs."

The spider's venom is usually enough to kill prey like mice or stop them enough for make them a meal.

Naskrecki reported on his blog, though, the giant spider's venom is not deadly to humans, amounting to a bee sting, but that puncture wounds from the fangs "was definitely something to be avoided."

Related Stories:

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
TheWire
The goliath birdeater, a spider as big as a puppy and with two-inch fangs, was encountered running around in the rainforest of Guyana by a Harvard researcher this month. Its leg span was about a foot long.
goliath, birdeater, spider, puppy, rain forest
379
2014-08-20
Monday, 20 Oct 2014 08:08 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved