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Image: João P. Burini

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is nowhere near the biggest spider in the world. In fact, at only five inches across, it is pretty small, but do not be fooled by this. According to some researchers, this is the deadliest arachnid on the planet, and it is both highly aggressive and territorial. Sometimes called the Banana spider because many are found in bunches of the fruit, this beast is definitely one to avoid.


Image: William Quatman

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is actually the generic name for eight species of spiders that belong to the genus Phoneutria – Greek for “murderess”. It scurries all over the place at night actively searching for prey. It does not wait in ambush or spin a web like other spiders. The notion that damp forests may contain giant webs accumulated over years is a fallacy.

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Image: João P. Burini

A great many spiders do not bother with webs at all, preferring to be always on the move for the next meal. This species can be identified by scarlet red hairs covering its fangs. Its defensive posture of standing on their back legs, putting its front legs up and swaying from side to side, is also a good identifier. This spider is not afraid of humans and will aggressively attack any that it feels are a threat, making it very dangerous to approach.

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