LIKE them or loathe them, Spiders play an important part of our ecosystem and with approximately 45,000 known species of Spider in the world, they are here to stay.
In fact, according to the American Museum of Natural History, there would be a ‘famine’ without them. Spiders eat a whole range of critters who themselves feed on our plants and crops. So, they don’t just keep your house bug free.
That being said, it doesn’t mean you have to like them, and, in fact, a large number of people have an absolute fear of the Spider in any shape or form. This is called Arachnophobia.
Arachnophobia is a severe and irrational fear of spiders, although it probably won’t feel irrational if you suffer from it. It affects up to 6.1 per cent of the entire global population which is approximately 475 million people.
The treatment for arachnophobia is probably as bad for the sufferer as the phobia itself as currently the only way to treat arachnophobia is by exposure treatment. This involves relaxation techniques and, eventually, getting the sufferer to engage with live spiders.
Did you know that Spiders are not insects and actually part of the arachnid family?
The largest spider in the world by both mass and size is the South American Goliath bird-eater. A resident of northern South American, this member of the tarantula family can weigh up to 170 grams with each leg growing as long as 30cm.
The South American Goliath bird-eater is by no means the only large arachnid in existence.
Ten of the World’s Biggest Spiders
- Cerbalus Aravensis. This spider is a huntsman spider found in Israel and Jordan. Its legs can grow to 14cm in length while its body length can grow to 2.65cm.
- Brazilian Wandering Spider. These ‘armed’ spiders can have a body length of 4.8cm and a leg span of up to 18cm and are local to South America.
- Camel Spider (also known as the Scorpion Spider). This variety of arachnids come in a range of sizes with the largest growing to a length of 15cm, including the legs.
- Hercules Baboon Spider. This slow growing species can have a leg span up to 20cm.
- Columbian Giant Black Tarantula. This medium rate growth spider can grow up to a total of 20.5cm, including the legs.
- Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantula. The leg span alone of this beast can grow to an incredible 17cm.
- Poecilotheria Rajaei. This Sri Lankan native can easily grow up to 20cm+.
- Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater. This hairy critter was discovered in 1917 by Cândido Firmino de Mello-Leitão, in Paraíba. They are one of the common pet tarantula breed and can grow to weigh more than 100 grams.
- The Huntsman Spider. A fast-paced spider with a small body and long legs, hence it’s nickname ‘The Crab Spider.’ Their bodies may be smaller than the others on this list but their legs can grow to an incredible 30cm.
- South American Goliath bird-eater. We’ve met this one already and hopefully you managed to get a look at it in action in the video above.
Did you know that Spiders, Scorpions, Mites and Ticks are all part of the arachnid family?
Just like all countries, Spain has its share of both indigenous and migrant varieties. There are thought to be around 59 varieties of Spider in Spain however as arachnids don’t follow territorial borders in the same way that humans do, this number could easily be slightly more or slightly less. The most common Spanish spiders are:
Lycosidae, also known as Wolf spiders, a robust and agile hunter with excellent eyesight.
Araneidae, also known as Orb weaving spiders, these are the most common group of web building spiders.
Sparassidae, also known as the Giant crab spider or Huntsman spider, this is a mainly tropical breed of spider that prefers sunnier climates.
Salticidae, also known as Jumping spiders, this family contains over 6,000 different species variation.
Sicariidae, also known as Violin Spiders, this family of six-eyed spiders known for their potentially necrotic venomous bites.
Macrothelidae, also known as Large spinnerets spider. This species was discovered and named in 1871 and can be found all over the world from Asia to Europe.
Theridiidae, also known as Comb footed spiders. This is the most globally diverse group of spiders with over 2,200 species.
While you will see from above that there are varieties of venomous spiders in Spain, as stated above, you are more likely to be bitten by a dog than you are a spider. However, that said, it can and does occasionally happen.
Interesting Spanish Spider Bite Facts
- Spider bites in Spain are actually quite rare. Spiders, much like snakes, only really bite humans when they feel threatened, provoked or in a near-death situation. You are more likely to be bitten by a dog than a spider.
- Spider bites are particularly difficult to diagnose and that suspected bite on your skin is unlikely to have come from a spider at all. Doctors, unless specifically trained in arachnology, will not be able to the difference between a spider bite and any other general skin puncture wound. You would have to see the offending arachnid sink it’s helicerae (fangs) into your skin to be sure that it was a spider bite at all.
- If you are unfortunate enough to be bitten by a spider, and it becomes swollen, it is as likely to be from infection as it is from venom. Any wound can get infected but not every spider is poisonous.
- There are zero recorded incidents of humans dying from spider bites in Spain.
Did you know that Spiders are found on EVERY continent in the world … except Antarctica?
So now you have a bit more information about not only spiders in general but also the variety of the species found in Spain, do you feel you have changed your mind about helping or harming one you found in your home?
With our help, have you now changed your mind about Spiders in Spain from Loathe to Like? Have you switched from Like to Loathe?
Either way, Spiders play an import part in our ecosystem and lives so next time maybe think twice before squashing that little critter roaming around your home.
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