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Brazilian Wandering Spider - Phoneutria spp.
Topic Started: Sep 2 2012, 02:48 PM (20,154 Views)
linnaeus1758
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Brazilian Wandering Spider - Phoneutria spp.

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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Ctenidae
Genus: Phoneutria

Description
Called "Armadeira" in Brazil, the Brazilian wandering spider can grow to have a leg span of up 13–15 cm. Their body length ranges from 17 to 48 mm. They are large hairy spindly-looking spiders who have eight eyes, two of which are large. Brazilian wandering spiders are fast-moving spiders, their legs are strong and spiny and they have distinctive red jaws which they display when angered.
The Brazilian wandering spider is not a tarantula. Brazilian wandering spiders are not even in the same family group. Tarantulas are harmless to humans and are mostly ambush killers who wait for prey to come to them. Brazilian wandering spiders are active hunters.

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Behavior
The Brazilian wandering spider is extremely venomous and aggressive, they are very quick and will attack if they feel threatened. As the name suggests they are known for their wandering, they do not create burrows or webs like many other spiders, they simply wander the forest during night. During the day they are known to hide in logs, termite mounds and under rocks.
An interesting fact is, during the days they also hide in banana plantations, and have commonly been found in banana boats heading to the U.S, this attaining them the name there nickname “the banana spider”. The spider mates during the dry season which is April to June.
When the spider feels threatened it has a very distinct display to scare the predator off. They raise there body and their two front legs rise into the air, this shows a small stripe pattern on there underside that you would not normally be able to see.

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Reproduction
All spiders produce silk, a thin, strong protein strand extruded by the spider from spinnerets most commonly found on the end of the abdomen. Many species use it to trap insects in webs, although there are many species that hunt freely such as the Brazilian Wandering spider. Silk can be used to aid in climbing, form smooth walls for burrows, build egg sacs, wrap prey and temporarily hold sperm, among other applications.
Brazilian Wandering spiders reproduce by means of eggs, which are packed into silk bundles called egg sacs. The male spider must (in most cases) make a timely departure after mating to escape before the females normal predatory instincts return.
Mature male spiders have swollen bulbs on the end of their palps for this purpose and this is a useful way to identify whether the spider is male or female. Once the sperm is inside the female spider, she stores it in a chamber and only uses it during the egg-laying process, when the eggs come into contact with the male sperm for the first time and are fertilized. The Brazilian wandering spiders life cycle is 1 - 2 years.

Diet
Adult Brazilian Wandering spiders eat crickets, other large insects, small lizards and mice. Spiderlings of this species eat flightless fruit flies and pinhead crickets.

Venom
Bites from the Brazilian Wandering spider may result in only a couple of painful pinpricks to full-blown envenomed. In either case, people bitten by this spider or any Ctenid should seek immediate emergency treatment as the venom is possibly life threatening.
The Phoneutria fera and Phoneutria nigriventer (two species of wandering spider) are the two most commonly implicated as the most vicious and deadly of the Phoneutria spiders. The Phoneutria not only has a potent neurotoxin, but is reported to have one of the most excruciatingly painful envenoms of all spiders due to its high concentration of serotonin. They have the most active venom of any living spiders. One of their members, the Brazilian Huntsman, is thought to be the most venomous spider in the world. Brazilian wandering spiders are certainly dangerous and bite more people than any other spiders.
Deaths have occured and during the years 1926-1996 14 fatalities happened.
The Brazilian wandering spider appeared in the Guinness World Records 2012 as the most venomous spider in the world.

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Species
Phoneutria bahiensis (Simó & Brescovit, 2001) — Atlantic rainforest of Brazil.
Phoneutria boliviensis (F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1897) — Central, South America.
Phoneutria eickstedtae (Martins & Bertani, 2007) — Brazil
Phoneutria fera (Perty, 1833) — Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Surinam, Guyana.
Phoneutria keyserlingi (F. O. Pickard-Cambridge], 1897) — Atlantic rainforest of Brazil.
Phoneutria nigriventer (Keyserling, 1891) — Brazil, northern Argentina; introduced to Uruguay.
Phoneutria pertyi (F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1897) — Atlantic rainforest of Brazil.
Phoneutria reidyi (F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1897) — Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Guyana.
Edited by linnaeus1758, Jun 13 2014, 09:37 AM.
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