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Brazilian Wandering Spider

The Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria fera) is an aggressive and highly venomous spider . It was first discovered in Brazil hence its name. However, this genus is known to exist elsewhere in South and Central America .

The Brazilian Wandering spider is a member of the Ctenidae family of wandering spiders.

The Brazilian Wandering spider appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records 2007 for being the most venomous animal .

In this particular genus, there are five known similar species whose members are also highly venomous. They include some of the relatively few species of spiders that present a threat to human beings.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Characteristics

The Brazilian wandering spider can grow to have a leg span of up to 4 – 5 inches. 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. Brazilian wandering spiders and Tarantulas do have one thing in common, however, they do not eat bananas.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Habitat and Spider Webs

The Brazilian Wandering spider is so-called because it wanders the jungle floor, rather than residing in a lair or maintaining a web. This is another reason it is considered so dangerous. In densely populated areas, the Brazilian Wandering spider will usually search for cover and dark places to hide during daytime, leading it to hide within houses, clothes, cars, boots, boxes and log piles. This usually causes accidents when people disturb them.

The Brazilian Wandering spider is also called the ‘banana spider’ as it is occasionally found within shipments of bananas. As a result, any large spider appearing in a bunch of bananas should be treated with due care.

Brazilian Wandering Spider 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.

Brazilian Wandering Spider 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.

Brazilian Wandering Spider 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.

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Brazilian wandering spiders: Bites & other facts

The spider's name means "murderess" in Greek, which is appropriate for the deadly arachnid.

A closeup-photo of a Brazilian wandering spider, with orange head and black and white-striped legs

Classification/taxonomy

Size & characteristics, bites and venom, additional resources.

The Brazilian wandering spider, also called armed spiders or banana spiders, belongs to the genus Phoneutria , which means "murderess" in Greek. And it's no wonder why — it's one of the most venomous spiders on Earth . Its bite, which delivers neurotoxic venom, can be deadly to humans, especially children, although antivenom makes death unlikely.

Guinness World Records has previously named the Brazilian wandering spider the world's most venomous spider multiple times (though the current record-holder is the Sydney funnel-web spider, Atrax robustus , according to Guinness ). But, as the late Jo-Anne Sewlal, who was an arachnologist at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, told Live Science, "classifying an animal as deadly is controversial," as the amount of damage depends on the amount of venom injected. 

Jo-Anne Sewlal was a noted arachnologist from Trinidad and Tobago. While completing her PhD, she received the National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST) 2012 Award for Excellence in Science and Technology for Junior Scientist. In 2013, She received a doctorate in zoology from the University of the West Indies. She discovered several species of spiders in her home country, surveyed the arachnids across several countries the Caribbean and appeared as an expert on the topic on The Science Channel. She died of an allergic reaction in January 2020.

There are nine species of Brazilian wandering spider, all of which are nocturnal and can be found in Brazil. Some species also can be found throughout Central and South America, from Costa Rica to Argentina, according to a 2008 article in the journal American Entomologist . Study author Richard S. Vetter, a research associate in the department of entomology at the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, wrote that specimens of these powerful arachnids have been mistakenly exported to North America and Europe in banana shipments. However, Vetter noted, in many cases of cargo infestation, the spider in question is a harmless banana spider (genus Cupiennius ) that is misidentified as a Phoneutria . The two types of spiders look similar.

The taxonomy of Brazilian wandering spiders, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) , is:

Kingdom : Animalia Subkingdom : Bilateria Infrakingdom : Protostomia Superphylum : Ecdysozoa Phylum : Arthropoda Subphylum : Chelicerata Class : Arachnida Order : Araneae Family : Ctenidae Genus : Phoneutria  

  • Phoneutria bahiensis
  • Phoneutria boliviensis
  • Phoneutria eickstedtae
  • Phoneutria fera
  • Phoneutria keyserlingi
  • Phoneutria nigriventer
  • Phoneutria pertyi
  • Phoneutria reidyi
  • Phoneutria depilata , according to a 2021 study published in the journal ZooKeys , which found that Phoneutria boliviensis actually included two separate species from different habitats. 

Brazilian wandering spiders are large, with bodies reaching up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) and a leg span of up to 7 inches (18 cm), according to the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany. The species vary in color, though all are hairy and mostly brown and gray, although some species have lightly colored spots on their abdomen. Many species have bands of black and yellow or white on the underside of the two front legs, according to the University of Florida . 

These arachnids "are called wandering spiders because they do not build webs but wander on the forest floor at night, actively hunting prey," Sewlal told Live Science in an interview conducted in 2014, before her death. They kill by both ambush and direct attack.

They spend most of their day hiding under logs or in crevices, and come out to hunt at night. They eat insects, other spiders and sometimes, small amphibians, reptiles and mice. 

Research into one species of Brazilian wandering spider, Phoneutria boliviensis , revealed that these spiders eat a mix of arthropods and reptiles. DNA metabarcoding, a technique that examines the DNA and RNA in a sample, of the guts of 57 spiders identified 96 prey species, including flies, beetles, butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, locusts and crickets, according to research from the University of Tolima and the University of Ibagué in Colombia . Some of the female spiders also ate lizards and snakes.

While their bites are powerful and painful, "their bites are a means of self-defense and only done if they are provoked intentionally or by accident," Sewlal said.

In the Brazilian wandering spider, just as in most spider species, the female is larger than the male. Males approach females cautiously when attempting to mate, according to the biology department at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse . Males perform a dance to get females' attention, and males often fight each other over the female. The female can be picky, and she often turns down many males before choosing a mating partner. Once she does pick one, the male needs to watch out; females often attack the males once copulation is finished.

The female then can store the sperm in a separate chamber from the eggs until she is ready to fertilize them. She will lay up to 1,000 eggs at a time, which are kept safe in a spun-silk egg sac.

Brazilian wandering spiders typically live for one or two years.

Brazilian wandering spiders' venom is a complex cocktail of toxins, proteins and peptides, according to the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany. The venom affects ion channels and chemical receptors in victims' neuromuscular systems.

After a human is bitten by one of these spiders, he or she may experience initial symptoms such as severe burning pain at the site of the bite, sweating and goosebumps, Sewlal said. Within 30 minutes, symptoms become systemic and include high or low blood pressure , fast or a slow heart rate , nausea, abdominal cramping, hypothermia, vertigo, blurred vision, convulsions and excessive sweating associated with shock. People who are bitten by a Brazilian wandering spider should seek medical attention immediately.

Their  venom is perhaps most famous for triggering painful and long-lasting erections . For that reason, in a 2023 study, scientists reported that they were testing the venom in humans as a potential treatment for erectile dysfunction in those for whom Viagra didn't work.

However, these bites are rare, and envenomations, or exposure to these toxins from a spider bite, are usually mild, Vetter said. For instance, a 2000 study in the journal Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo found that only 2.3% of people with bites who came to a Brazilian hospital over a 13-year period were treated with antivenom. (The other bites did not contain enough venom to require it.) Most of the bites were from the species P. nigriventer and P. keyserlingi in eastern coastal Brazil. About 4,000 bites reportedly happen each year in Brazil, but only 0.5% of those cases are severe, according to a 2018 study in the journal Clinical Toxinology in Australia, Europe, and Americas . Meanwhile, 15 deaths have been attributed to Phoneutria in Brazil since 1903, the 2018 study reported. 

"It is unlikely that the spider would inject all of its venom into you, as this venom is not only needed as a means of defense but to immobilize prey," Sewlal said. "So if it did inject all of its venom, it [would] have to wait until its body manufactured more before it could hunt." That would also leave the spider vulnerable to being attacked by predators.

Furthermore, Sewlal pointed out that venom production requires a lot of a spider's resources and time. "So if the spider were to attack frequently and use up all of its venom, it [would] be safe to assume that it has a ready food supply to replace the energy and resources used. This situation does not exist in the wild."

  • Learn more about Brazilian wandering spiders from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse .
  • Read about several species of Brazilian wandering spiders, including several images of the arachnids at the University of Florida .
  • Find a spider in your bananas? It may or may not be a deadly species, according to the University of California, Riverside .

This article was originally published on Nov. 20, 2014. 

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Jessie Szalay is a contributing writer to FSR Magazine. Prior to writing for Live Science, she was an editor at Living Social. She holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from George Mason University and a bachelor's degree in sociology from Kenyon College. 

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Brazilian Wandering Spider: Care, Food, Habitat & Preventions

Mike Wallace

Have you ever heard of or do you know what a  Brazilian wandering spider is ? It is a big venomous spider from places like Central and South America, and people sometimes call it the  banana spider . Why? Well, we are about to find out!

Table of Contents

These wandering spiders are aggressive hunters who go out on the hunt at night. Their meals include both invertebrates (like insects) and vertebrates (creatures with a backbone, like small animals).

These spiders are super dangerous because their venom is like a powerful potion that can make people really sick or even worse. They usually hang out in tropical rainforests and even in cities, hiding in banana plants. 

So, let’s get more information about the world of this sneaky spider to learn the details about its looks, eating habits, where it lives, the venom it carries, and find out if it is genuinely risky. Ready to explore? Keep reading!

Brazilian Wandering Spider Description:

Scientific name and family:.

In Brazil, they are sometimes known as “ armed spiders ” (armadeiras), and they share the name “ banana spiders ” with a few other spiders. They have different names, but they are all talking about the same interesting spider!

Brazilian Wandering-Spider sitting on hand Spiders-Planet

The Brazilian wandering spider, scientifically known as  Phoneutria , Maximilian Perty kickstarted the Phoneutria genus in 1833. The name comes from the Greek word φονεύτρια , which means “murderess” and falls under the Animalia kingdom, Arthropoda phylum, and Arachnida class.

Within Arachnida, it is classified in the order Araneae, infraorder Araneomorphae, and Ctenidae family. The genus Phoneutria, described by Perty in 1833, includes the type species  Phoneutria fera .

This classification helps us understand where these spiders fit into the larger picture of living organisms.

The following 9 species are accepted by The  World Spider Catalog :

  • Phoneutria bahiensis
  • Phoneutria boliviensis
  • Phoneutria eickstedtae
  • Phoneutria fera
  • Phoneutria keyserlingi
  • Phoneutria nigriventer
  • Phoneutria pertyi
  • Phoneutria reidyi
  • Phoneutria depilata

What do Brazilian Wandering Spider look like?

Size range:.

The spiders in the Phoneutria group can get pretty big in size. Their legs can stretch out to be 13 to 18 centimeters (5 to 7 inches) wide, and their bodies can have a range between 17 to 48 millimeters (a little more than half an inch to almost 2 inches) long.

The female Brazilian spiders can get pretty big, reaching up to 15 centimeters (5.9 inches) in length. On the other hand, the males are smaller, usually measuring around 7 centimeters (2.8 inches). They usually weigh up to 0.21 ounces.

They have long, slender legs, and even though some other spiders with different names might have longer legs, the Phoneutria spiders are champions when it comes to having the longest bodies and being the heaviest in their spider gang.

The spider’s body has two main parts. The first is the prosoma, kind of like its “head,” where you will find all eight legs, eyes, fangs (chelicera), and little multitasking arms (pedipalps).

The second part is the opisthosoma, holding the spinnerets for making silk, the back end opening (anal opening), “the lungs,” the heart, and the important bits for making baby spiders (reproductive organs).

So, the prosoma is like the front control center, and the opisthosoma is like the back office, handling things like silk-making and baby-making.

Brazilian spiders come in different colors, with most being hairy and shades of brown and gray. Some species may have lightly colored spots on their abdomen.

A distinctive feature of many species is the presence of bands of black and yellow or white on the underside of their two front legs.

Identification:

To identify a spider from the Phoneutria group, look for a dense brush of fine hairs on their leg parts. They might seem like other spiders, especially  Cupiennius , but here is how you can differentiate: 

  • Phoneutria often have a dark line on the front of their palps and a thin black line on top of their head. 
  • Check underneath, too; their legs usually have dark parts and light joints. Sometimes, the belly has black dots or is reddish. 
  • Usually it has been observed that when they are upset, they do a cool defensive move like lifting their front legs high with a distinctive pattern. So, if you see a spider doing that dance, it is probably a Phoneutria!

Brazilian Wandering Spiders live all over the Americas, from Costa Rica to northern Argentina. They are like the residents of the jungle, chilling in forests east of the Andes in countries like Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and the Guianas.

Some, like P. reidyi, P. boliviensis, and P. fera, love the Amazon rainforest, while others prefer the Atlantic Forest in Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil.

They have also made themselves at home in the Cerrado savanna. But if you head to northeastern Brazil, they are not around. These spiders have even taken trips to Chile and Uruguay.

Why are they called Banana Spiders?

These spiders are linked with bananas. Richard S. Vetter, a researcher at the University of California, found that these powerful spiders sometimes end up in North America and Europe by accident, hitching a ride in banana shipments.

Banana Spider sitting on banana leaf - Spiders Planet

But it is often a case of mistaken identity. Only a few Phoneutria species have been found in banana shipments, and sometimes, other spiders get the blame due to misidentification. 

What They Like to Eat or Hunt?

Their food includes flies, beetles, butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, locusts, and crickets. Occasionally, they might even feast on small creatures like amphibians, reptiles, or mice. All these diet or food findings tell us about how diversified eating habits these fascinating spiders have.

Mating and Lifecycle:

Like most spiders, the female spiders are bigger than the males. When the male spider wants to be friends, they do a little dance (vibrating his pedipalps and specialized sensory appendages) to signal his intentions to impress the female, but it is a cautious approach.

The behavior of the female can be choosy, and she might say no to a few before picking the right one. 

After the dance, sometimes, the females decide to attack them, or if she is interested, she can store the male’s baby-making material in a special place until she is ready to use it.

Then, she lays a bunch of eggs, up to 1,000 at a time, and keeps them safe in a silk egg sac. Sadly, after laying her eggs, the mom spider says goodbye. It is her way of making sure the new spiders are ready to explore the world on their own.

The lifespan of the banana spider (Phoneutria nigriventer) differs for males and females. Females usually live for 6 to 8 weeks after reaching maturity, while males have a shorter lifespan of 2 to 3 weeks after their last molt. 

Certain mammals, like coatis (Procyonidae, which includes raccoons) and other small insectivores, birds are potential predators of large wandering spiders.

These spiders got their name as wandering spiders because of the fact that they are not into web building. Instead, they stroll around the forest floor at night(nocturnal), searching for dinner.

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are active hunters and use both ambush tactics and direct attacks to catch their prey. During the day, they prefer cozy spots like under logs or in crevices, only emerging at night for their hunting adventures. These spiders do not build nests like other spider species.

While wandering spiders are not naturally aggressive towards humans, they won’t hesitate to bite if they feel cornered or threatened. Most bites happen when a spider accidentally gets trapped in clothing or bedding. 

Bite and Venom:

The bite of the armed spider is the most dangerous in the world as the venom it carries can be harmful to humans.

The danger is not just about how strong the venom is; it is also about factors like the spider’s likelihood to bite and how close it is to where people live.

These spiders often hide in houses, clothes, and other dark places during the day, making accidental bites more likely. 

While their fangs are adapted for small prey, some experts think they might give a “dry” bite in defense to save venom. Studies suggest that not all bites inject venom, and serious cases requiring antivenom are rare.

However, there have been confirmed cases of death, with symptoms appearing quickly, including:

  • Severe pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • In severe cases, paralysis and death

The severity can depend on the spider’s sex, with females generally more dangerous. The spiders produce less venom in colder months, and a small amount can be potent enough to harm.

Fortunately, bites from Brazilian spiders are rare, and when they do occur, the exposure to the toxins is generally mild, as explained by Vetter.

Also Read: What is a Huntsman Spider? (Heteropodidae) – The Ultimate Guide

Banana Spider’s Facts:

Below are essential details about Brazilian wandering spiders:

  • They hold the title for the world’s largest spiders , boasting leg spans reaching up to 15 centimeters (6 inches).
  • Their venom packs a powerful punch, capable of inducing severe pain, paralysis, and, in extreme cases, fatal outcomes for humans.
  • Despite their intimidating reputation, they are generally non-aggressive and resort to biting only when provoked.
  • These spiders inhabit tropical rainforests and urban areas across Central and South America.
  • In case someone has been bitten by this spider, he/she needs quick medical treatment to control the effects timely.

Brazilian Wandering Spider sitting on wood -Spiders Planet

Treatment and Preventive Measures:

If bitten by a wandering spider or armed spiders, prompt medical attention is crucial. There is an antivenom for the spider’s venom, but its effectiveness is highest when administered within a few hours of the bite.

To prevent a bite:

  • Wear protective clothing, use shoes and long pants when in areas where these spiders are found.
  • Before wearing your clothes and shoes, make sure to check them to ensure no spiders are hiding.
  • Maintain cleanliness and avoid leaving food or garbage exposed, as this can attract spiders.

These preventive measures are essential for minimizing the risk of encountering and getting bitten by Banana spiders.

Can Brazilian spiders kill humans?

Brazilian wandering spiders (Phoneutria nigriventer) are venomous and can potentially kill a human with a single bite. Their venom contains a potent neurotoxin that can cause severe pain, paralysis, and even death. 

Are Brazilian spiders poisonous?

Yes the venom of this spider is poisonous, that can cause death. While Brazilian wandering spiders are potentially dangerous, actual bites are relatively rare.

By adopting preventive measures and promptly seeking medical attention if bitten, the risk of serious complications can be significantly reduced.

Can you keep Brazilian spiders as pets?

It is strongly advised against keeping wandering spiders as pets due to their venomous nature and the potential risk to human safety.

Managing these spiders in captivity demands specialized knowledge and handling procedures to minimize the risk of bites.

Final Thoughts:

The Brazilian wandering spider, banana spider, or armed spider is a large and venomous arachnid found in Central and South America. While their potent venom can be harmful to humans, encounters are rare.

These nocturnal hunters have adopted various habitats, from rainforests to urban areas, and are associated with banana shipments. Understanding their appearance, behavior, and habitat is crucial for minimizing risks.

Seeking immediate medical attention after a bite is essential, as antivenom is available but most effective when administered promptly. Despite their fearsome reputation, the Brazilian spider remains a captivating and potentially dangerous species.

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Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts

Brazilian wandering spider profile.

There are more than 50,000 species of spider, and the vast majority are less dangerous than a honeybee. Almost none are aggressive, and of those with medically significant venom, only a small percentage are capable of causing death. So, on the whole, arachnophobes are just being a bit silly.

But there’s one spider that vindicates all of these fears, and few animals are as globally renowned to be a serious threat to human lives as the Brazilian Wandering Spider .

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are actually 9 species of spider in the same genus ‘Phoneutria’, one of which is found in Central America, with the rest in South America.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts

Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts Overview

These spiders are called wandering spiders because of instead of spinning a web to wait for food, or occupying a lair, they spend their night wandering in the leaf litter of the jungle floor for prey.

The sensitive hairs on its body help detect vibrations of passing prey, and it will feed on insects, lizards, frogs and any animals as large as itself.

During the day they will hide under logs, rocks, or inside termite mounds and banana plants. They will also sometimes wander into urban areas and homes, where they can come into contact with humans.

Brazilian wandering spiders are aggressive , dangerous and frightening. For once, this is an animal you should be wary of.

The females are larger, around 50% heavier than males, and produce more venom, and this might be a clue as to why their Greek name translates to “ Mudress” . These spiders will often stand and fight and have an intimidating threat display.

The potency of their venom is one of the reasons they’re so dangerous, and their ability to hide away in fruit and shoes explains why most bites are on extremities.

Interesting Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts

1. armed spiders.

In Brazilian, these are sometimes known as armed spiders, on account of their elongated front legs.

They can convey quite a bit of information with these legs, and as wandering spiders, use them to get about the forest, looking for food.

Brazilian Wandering Spider

2. Banana Spiders

They’re also sometimes called ‘banana spiders’ on account of their status as a stowaway on popular fruit imported from the tropics.

This is becoming less common as stricter regulations ensure there’s less contamination of fruits, but there’s always a chance your next bunch of bananas will have a family of these spiders living inside it.

3. They have the largest venom glands of any spider

Females produce more venom than males, but both sexes have enormous venom glands. These glands are even more impressive when you consider the size of the spider is significantly less than the largest around.

The venom glands of the Brazilian Wandering Spider are over a centimetre long, and this is all housed inside the bright red chelicerae (mouth parts) which they are quick to display whenever they get upset. 1

4. They’re aggressive

These spiders can grow quite large and have long, brightly-coloured legs. Unlike most spiders, they’re known to stand their ground when threatened and are far quicker to bite than many other species.

They’ll still try to scurry away where possible, and they’re not out to get anybody.

But where most other species will flee, the wandering spiders’ aggression does make it more likely to be involved in incidents.

Most bites are on fingers and toes, a sign that they’re being stepped on or grabbed inadvertently. When the spider feels cornered, it’ll rear up on its back legs and waves its colourful arms around as a warning.

Then it’ll sway side to side, beckoning you to have a go. Anything foolhardy enough to call this bluff gets a wealth of envenomation effects. 2 3

Brazilian Wandering Spider threat display with front legs raised

5. They give some men erections

There are ways to accomplish this with fewer side effects, but a bit from a Brazilian wandering spider does come with a certain Viagral quality.

This isn’t as fun as it might sound. Prolonged erections in this manner are likely to harm and destroy muscles and blood vessels in the penis and could cause irreparable damage.

Besides this, the assault on the central nervous system that comes with envenomation by this spider doesn’t sound worth it. 4

6. And some people die

This assault brings with it a whole host of unpleasant symptoms. Seizures, foaming at the mouth, inability to speak, collapse, and a host of other miserable experiences.

Paralysis is possible, as is cardiac shock. Blood vessels can burst in the brain, or anywhere else, and in many cases, this can be enough to kill a person.

This spider has one of the most potent venoms of all, and there are multiple legitimate records of death as a result of bites.

7. But they’re rarely fatal

While the Brazilian wandering spider is potentially one of the most dangerous spiders in the world, there is some evidence to suggest it gives a dry bite, defensively.

This means that despite exceptionally toxic venom, the amount actually injected is less than some of the other contenders, and this is what makes it typically less lethal than the Australian funnel webs.

These spiders are classified as Dangerous Wild Animals and would therefore require a special permit to keep. Bites from wandering spiders are common in South America, but antivenom is often readily available, and they rarely result in death.

In most cases, lethal bites are cases of a very young or very old victim, and few people of healthy age are killed. 5

Banana Spider

8. They do invade the UK sometimes

These unquestionably scary spiders show up in supermarkets in the UK on occasion, having hitched a ride on banana shipments.

On more than one occasion they’ve made their way into shoppers’ homes, but it doesn’t appear that there are any cases of them biting people as a result.

These spiders aren’t suited for temperate climates and don’t survive Winter, so there’s no risk of them multiplying.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Fact-File Summary

Scientific classification, fact sources & references.

  • PeerJ. (2017), “ Dimensions of venom gland of largest venom glands in all spiders ”, Bio Numbers.
  • Dave Clarke (2010), “ Venomous spider found in Waitrose shopping ‘beautiful but aggressive’” , The Guardian.
  • “ Phoneutria Perty (Arachnida: Araneae: Ctenidae) ”, UF-IFAS University of Florida
  • Kátia R.M. Leite (2012), “ Phoneutria nigriventer spider toxin Tx2-6 causes priapism and death: A histopathological investigation in mice ”, Science Direct.
  • “ Brazilian wandering spiders: Bites & other facts ”, Live Science.

brazilian wandering spider habitat

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brazilian wandering spider habitat

Brazilian Wandering (Phoneutria)

The Brazilian Wandering spider is a type of spider from the Phoneutria group. Even though they’re called “Brazilian,” not all of them come from Brazil. They’re known for having strong venom. In this post, we’ll share cool facts about these spiders and help you understand them better.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Ctenidae
  • Genus: Phoneutria

Brazilian Wandering Spider Size

List of Spiders Belonging to This Genus

Physical description and identification.

  • Size: They are large in size, with their body being 17- 48mm (.67 – 1.89 inches) long and they also have a leg span of 130 – 150 mm (5.1-5.9 inches).
  • Color: The color may vary from one species to the other, though most of them have a brown hairy body, with black spots on their stomach. Some have bright, red hairs on their mouthparts or chelicerae, while others may lack it, a feature that confuses them with species of another genus, particularly the Cupiennius.
  • Other characteristics: They often lift their body in an erect posture and hold their frontal legs high to defend themselves against predators.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Size

They are safely placed in a silken sac and the female spiders of this genus are known to lay about 1000 of them in her lifetime.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Egg

Spiderlings

They remain with their mother for some time after which they disperse to be on their own. The juvenile spiders are known to consume pin crickets as well as non-volatile fruit flies for their diet.

The spiders of this genus do not build webs but walk on the jungle floor, on the lookout for their prey.

Are Brazilian Wandering Spiders Venomous?

Yes, Brazilian Wandering Spiders have strong venom. They use it to catch their food. It’s one of the reasons they’re pretty famous.

Can Brazilian Wandering Spiders Bite?

Yes, they can bite. While they don’t always want to, they might if they feel scared or threatened by something.

Banana Spider

How Fast Can a Brazilian Wandering Spider Kill One?

It has been reported that the bite of species belonging to this genus may result in the victim’s death within one hour after the venom enters the person’s body. However, with effective anti-venom being introduced for treatment in Brazil to combat the toxic effects of these spiders, the incidence of fatalities has been less. In fact, most studies show that death mostly occurs in children below seven years of age. Of all the eight species, P. nigriventer , followed by P. fera, is said to account for most venom intoxications in Brazil.

Ecological Importance and Behavior of the Brazilian Wandering Spider

The Brazilian Wandering Spider, scientifically known as Phoneutria, stands out not just because of its reputation as one of the world’s most venomous spiders , but also due to its ecological significance and unique behavior.

Natural Predator: Despite their fearsome reputation, Brazilian Wandering Spiders are not at the top of the food chain. They fall prey to larger animals and birds. Among their predators are the coatis, certain species of large spiders, and a variety of avian predators.

Prey-Predator Dynamics: The dynamic between the Brazilian Wandering Spider and its prey is a showcase of nature’s balance. While they are efficient hunters, specializing in ambushing their prey, their own survival is constantly under threat from their predators. This cycle ensures that no one species dominates the ecosystem and that biodiversity thrives.

Relationship with Humans: The relationship between humans and the Brazilian Wandering Spider is one of respect and caution. Their venom is potent and can be harmful to humans, although fatal encounters are rare. 

Quick Facts

Brazilian Wandering Spider Picture

Did You Know

  • Species of this genus are known for wandering along the jungle floor during the night which is why they are referred to as “wandering spiders”.
  • They are alternately called “banana spiders”, a name that they also share with other species because members of this genus have often been found in banana shipments. Research in shipments going to North America showed that 7 of the 135 spiders found in such shipments were of the Phoneutria genus.
  • Phoneutria in Greek means murderess, a name perfectly attributed to its aggressive nature.

Mumpi Ghosh

Other Spiders in this Family

Wandering spiders.

Phoneutria depilata

Phoneutria depilata

Phoneutria Boliviensis

Phoneutria boliviensis

Phoneutria Fera

Phoneutria fera

Phoneutria nigriventer

Phoneutria nigriventer

Southeastern Wandering Spider

Southeastern Wandering (Anahita punctulata)

Anahita Spider

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Phoneutria fera

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Brazilian Wandering Spider facts

Brazilian Wandering Spider facts

Last updated on July 12th, 2023 at 01:48 pm

When you think of deadly spiders, there are a few names that spring to mind – but none more infamous than the Brazilian Wandering Spider. This species is reputed to have the most toxic venom of any spider, having a bite which causes horrendous side-effects like priapism and convulsions.

What you may not know, however, is that the Brazilian Wandering Spider name is actually used for a few species. The most common, and perhaps the most medically significant in the group are Phoneutria nigriventer and Phoneutria fera .

In this post, I’ll tell you more about these two species, from where they live, to what they eat. To keep things simple, I’ll just refer to them both as the “Brazilian Wandering Spider”, given how similar they are. Let’s dive in…

Quick Facts

To kick things off, here are some fascinating factoids about the Brazilian Wandering Spider:

  • They belong to the genus ‘Phoneutria’, which translates to ‘murderess’ in Greek.
  • They are known for their highly potent venom.
  • Wandering Spiders are nocturnal creatures.
  • They are also known as ‘banana spiders’ due to their tendency to hide in banana plants.
  • They are not web-weavers but active hunters. This is called ‘cursorial’ hunting.
  • It’s considered one of the most dangerous spiders in the world.

Other Common Names

The Brazilian Wandering Spider goes by several other names. The most common is the ‘banana spider’, thanks to their notorious habit of stowing away in banana shipments. In their native Portuguese, they’re known as ‘aranhas-armadeiras’ , translating to ‘armed spiders’ – a reference to their aggressive defense posture.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Venom

Possessing one of the most potent venoms among spiders, the Brazilian Wandering Spider’s bite is a cause for concern. Its venom is a complex cocktail of toxins, proteins, and peptides.

The main component that gets everyone’s attention is the neurotoxin, called PhTx3 , which can interfere with the functioning of our nervous system, leading to a variety of symptoms.

Brazilian Wandering Spider facts

What’s the Benefit of Having Such Strong Venom?

With venom potent enough to kill a human, one might wonder why this spider needs such a powerful weapon. The answer lies in its lifestyle.

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are active hunters and their venom is primarily used to incapacitate prey quickly. The venom’s potency also serves as an effective deterrent against potential predators.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Deaths

Despite the notorious reputation, actual deaths from Brazilian Wandering Spider bites are rare. This is largely due to the rapid medical attention available in areas where these spiders are common. Plus, these spiders don’t always inject venom when they bite – a dry bite can occur.

This actually common in venomous animals, including spiders and reptiles. Occasionally they bite and decide to not inject any venom. The point of this is to conserve it, given that it is energetically costly to produce.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Size

Being quite large and impressive compared to most arachnids, adult Brazilian Wandering Spiders can reach a leg span of up to 7 inches (18 cm) . The body size excluding the legs can be up to 2 inches (5 cm). Their size contributes to their intimidating presence.

If you’d to learn more about why they get so big, check out my article on Brazilian Wandering Spider size for more info!

Brazilian Wandering Spider Location and Habitat

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are native to South America. Here’s a quick rundown of their range and preferred habitats:

Brazilian Wandering Spider facts

Brazilian Wandering Spider Speed

An adept hunter, the Brazilian Wandering Spider can move quickly when chasing prey or evading threats. While exact speed measurements can vary, some sources report that these spiders can achieve speeds up to 1 meter per second.

What Does the Brazilian Wandering Spider Eat?

The Brazilian Wandering Spider’s diet consists mainly of insects, other spiders, and occasionally small amphibians and reptiles. Their potent venom allows them to tackle prey larger than themselves, making them one of the apex micro-predators in their habitat.

Final Thoughts…

While the Brazilian Wandering Spider might seem terrifying to many, as an arachnid enthusiast, I find them to be incredibly fascinating. Their potent venom, hunting prowess, and adaptation to diverse habitats reveal the intricate beauty of the evolutionary process.

Just remember, these spiders, like all creatures, play a vital role in our ecosystem. Respect, not fear, should be our response to these remarkable arachnids.

The truth is that most bites are accidental, but they do occur. The fact that so few deaths occur each year is a testament to the effectiveness of the antivenom that has now become widely available.

Brazilian Wandering Spider facts

FAQ related to the Brazilian Wandering Spider

What happens if you are bitten by a brazilian wandering spider.

Immediately after a bite from a Brazilian Wandering Spider, you will experience localized pain. Then, within 5 to 15 minutes the area around the bite will swell. The swelling can spread to most of a limb, for example. Finally, neurological symptoms like coldness, sweating, and convulsions will set in.

Do wandering spiders jump?

Wandering Spiders are excellent at jumping. They can jump several feet when surprised, and may occasionally use this as a tactic to evade predators. Jumping at you isn’t part of how bites happen though. When faced with humans, Wandering Spiders usually stand their ground and use their threat display of raised legs to warn us away.

Is Brazilian wandering spider friendly?

Wandering Spiders are not friendly. As a general rule, they are relatively calm, but can also be defensive. They tend to see humans as a threat, and will not take to being handled easily. That said, they are not aggressive, and most bites happen when someone accidentally touches one or tries to kill it.

Are Brazilian wandering spiders in Australia?

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are not found in Australia. The only species in Australia that get as large as Wandering Spiders are the Huntsman Spiders. At a distance they may appear relatively similar, but Huntsman Spiders are completely harmless to humans.

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Brazilian wandering spider facts for kids

Estação Ecológica de Santa Bárbara Giordano Rossi (12)

Phoneutria is a genus of spiders in the family Ctenidae. They are mainly found in northern South America, with one species in Central America. Members of the genus are commonly referred to as Brazilian wandering spiders . Other English names include armed spiders ( armadeiras in Brazilian Portuguese ) and banana spiders (a name shared with several others).

Description

Banana shipments, medical significance, related pages.

Phoneutria spiders can have a leg span of 13 to 18 cm (5 to 7 in). Their body length ranges from 17 to 48 mm ( 43 ⁄ 64 to 1 + 57 ⁄ 64  in).

The genus is distinguished from other related genera by the presence of a dense brush of fine hairs on the legs. Also, a dark linear stripe or stripes on the frontal (dorsal) palps and a single thin black line running along the back may help identify Phoneutria . Other features are the strong ventral marking on the underside of the legs with contrasting dark mid-segments and lighter joints, and the pattern on the underside of the abdomen with several rows of black dots, or an overall reddish colour.

Another indicator is a characteristic defensive posture with frontal legs held high. During the defensive display the body is lifted up into an erect position, the first two pairs of legs are lifted high (revealing the conspicuous black/light-banded pattern on the leg underside), while the spider sways from side to side with hind legs in a cocked position.

258531 web Phoneutria tree

The genus Phoneutria was started by Maximilian Perty in 1833. The genus name is from the Greek φονεύτρια, meaning "murderess".

Phoneutria nigriventer

As of March 2021 [update] , the World Spider Catalog accepted the following species:

  • Phoneutria bahiensis Simó & Brescovit, 2001 – Brazil
  • Phoneutria boliviensis (F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1897) – Central, South America
  • Phoneutria depilata (Strand, 1909) – Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador
  • Phoneutria eickstedtae Martins & Bertani, 2007 – Brazil
  • Phoneutria fera Perty, 1833 ( type ) – Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Suriname, Guyana
  • Phoneutria keyserlingi (F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1897) – Brazil
  • Phoneutria nigriventer (Keyserling, 1891) – Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina
  • Phoneutria pertyi (F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1897) – Brazil
  • Phoneutria reidyi (F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1897) – Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Guyana

Wandering spiders are so-called because they wander the jungle floor at night, rather than residing in a lair or maintaining a web. During the day they hide inside termite mounds, under fallen logs and rocks, in banana plants (hence the "banana spider" nickname), and bromeliads . P. nigriventer is known to hide in dark and moist places in or near human dwellings.

P. nigriventer mates during the dry season from April to June, and is frequently observed during this time.

Distribution

Phoneutria are found in forests from Costa Rica southwards throughout South America east of the Andes including Colombia , Venezuela , the Guianas , Ecuador , Peru , Bolivia , Brazil , Paraguay , and into northern Argentina . Three species ( P. reidyi, P. boliviensis and P. fera ) are found in the Amazon region . One species ( P. fera ) is restricted to the Amazon, and one ( P. boliviensis ) ranges into Central America in Panama and Costa Rica . The remaining species are restricted to Atlantic Forest of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, including forest fragments in the Cerrado savanna. In Brazil, Phoneutria is only absent in the northeastern region north of Salvador, Bahia .

Phoneutria has been introduced to Chile and Uruguay .

These spiders acquired their other common name, "banana spider", because it is claimed that they are occasionally found in shipments of bananas . Cases continue to be reported but without evidence of expert identification. In 2005, a man was bitten in Bridgwater , England by a spider in a shipment of bananas and, in 2014, a south London family photographed a spider that they claim was in a bunch of bananas delivered to their home.

Phoneutria spiders present a threat to humans. Their venom is toxic to people and their bites are sometimes deadly. These spiders' wandering nature is another reason they are considered so dangerous. In densely populated areas, Phoneutria species usually hide in houses, clothes, cars, boots, boxes and log piles, where they may bite if accidentally disturbed.

Spider mouthparts are adapted to envenomate very small prey; they are not well-adapted to attacking large mammals such as humans. Nevertheless, there are a few well-attested instances of death. In one case, a single spider killed two children in São Sebastião. The spider was positively identified as a Phoneutria .

These spiders seem to produce a smaller amount of venom during cold months (June to September) a minimum amount of 0.03 mg, an average of 0.44 mg and a maximum of 1.84 mg, during the summer months. The male produces less venom and is less lethal than the females, except for P. boliviensis , where the male is more toxic. The maximum amount among individuals was 3.10 mg (October 26), 4 mg (November 3), 5 mg (November 4) and 8 mg (October 31); 7 mg of dried venom is enough to kill 500 mice subcutaneously and 1,000 intravenously .

Symptoms reported after the bite are tachycardia, increased blood pressure, vertigo, fever, sweating, visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing and paralysis. They may appear within 10 to 20 minutes, and death within two to six hours. Death is usually caused by respiratory arrest.

  • Phoneutria fera , commonly known as the ' Brazilian wandering spider , a species of spider found in South America ( Colombia , Ecuador , Peru , Brazil , Suriname , and Guyana ).
  • This page was last modified on 30 January 2024, at 05:53. Suggest an edit .

Brazilian Wandering Spider

The Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria fera) is a teardrop-shaped arachnid with a brown coloration. Known for its potent venom, it thrives in both the lush rainforests and human dwellings of Brazil. Its notorious wandering behavior makes it a significant presence in its habitats.

Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria fera)

Fascinating Facts about Brazilian Wandering Spider

Here are 3 interesting facts about Brazilian Wandering Spider:

  • The Brazilian Wandering Spider is considered the world's most venomous spider by the Guinness World Records.
  • They are known as 'wandering' spiders because they roam the jungle floor at night instead of residing in a lair or web.
  • Despite their notorious reputation, their bites rarely cause death in humans due to the small amount of venom they inject.

Taxonomy and Classification

Here is the scientific categorization of Brazilian Wandering Spider, providing a glimpse of their position in the biological hierarchy:

Lifecycle and Growth

Brazilian Wandering Spider's life is a journey of transformation - an adventure marked by the following captivating stages:

Egg → Spiderling → Adult

The Brazilian Wandering Spider, primarily found in the rainforest, exhibits a lifecycle that spans both wilderness and human habitats. From egg to adult, it navigates a complex path through dense foliage and human dwellings, adapting to these contrasting environments.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Behaviour and Adaptations

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are known for their nomadic behavior. Instead of building webs to catch prey, they actively hunt at night, using their highly developed senses, particularly vision, to locate and stalk their prey.

These arachnids have adapted to a wide range of habitats, from forests to urban areas. Their potent neurotoxic venom, one of the most powerful among spiders, allows them to incapacitate and consume a variety of prey.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Interaction with the Ecosystem

Now, let's look at how they help maintain the balance in the ecosystem:

  • Brazilian Wandering Spiders play a crucial role in controlling the population of their prey, which includes insects and small mammals.
  • They serve as a food source for larger animals, contributing to the food chain in their ecosystem.
  • Their venom, although dangerous to humans, is studied for medicinal purposes including treatments for erectile dysfunction and pain relief.

Threats to Brazilian Wandering Spider

Despite their popularity and predator status, Brazilian Wandering Spider encounter several threats as well:

  • Destruction of natural habitat due to deforestation
  • Increased usage of pesticides affecting their food chain
  • Climate change potentially disrupting their breeding patterns

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17 surprising facts about brazilian wandering spider.

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Modified & Updated: 29 Jan 2024

Published: 14 Dec 2023

Modified: 29 Jan 2024

17-surprising-facts-about-brazilian-wandering-spider

The Brazilian Wandering Spider, also known as the banana spider, is a fascinating and enigmatic creature that hails from the tropical forests of South America. With its vibrant colors, impressive size, and potent venom, this spider has earned a notorious reputation as one of the most dangerous arachnids in the world.

In this article, we will delve into the intriguing world of the Brazilian Wandering Spider and uncover 17 surprising facts about this captivating creature. From its unique hunting techniques to its bizarre reproductive behavior, these facts will shed light on the mysterious nature of this spider and challenge any preconceived notions you may have about them.

Whether you have a fear of spiders or simply have an interest in the wonders of the animal kingdom, prepare to be amazed and astounded as we explore the remarkable features and habits of the Brazilian Wandering Spider.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is one of the most venomous spiders in the world.

With its potent neurotoxic venom, the Brazilian Wandering Spider poses a significant threat to humans and animals alike.

It is found in various parts of South America, including Brazil, Venezuela, and Suriname.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is native to the rainforests of South America and has adapted to diverse habitats within the region.

Male Brazilian Wandering Spiders have unique leg flaps.

Unlike other spiders, male Brazilian Wandering Spiders have specialized leg flaps that they use to attract females during courtship rituals.

Female Brazilian Wandering Spiders are larger than males.

The females of this species can grow up to 5 inches in leg span, while males are usually smaller, measuring around 3 inches.

They are known for their distinctive hunting behavior.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider does not build a traditional web to catch prey. Instead, it actively hunts for insects, small rodents, and even lizards.

The venom of the Brazilian Wandering Spider can cause painful erections in humans.

A bite from this spider can lead to a condition called priapism, which is characterized by prolonged and painful erections in men.

This spider is also known as the Banana Spider.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider earned its nickname “Banana Spider” due to its occasional presence in banana shipments, causing concerns for importers and consumers.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider has a defensive display known as “threat posture”.

When threatened, this spider raises its front legs, exposing its fangs and warning potential predators of its venomous capabilities.

They possess a potent venom that affects the nervous system.

The neurotoxic venom of the Brazilian Wandering Spider causes symptoms such as severe pain, muscle spasms, respiratory distress, and in rare cases, even death.

Antivenom exists for the treatment of Brazilian Wandering Spider bites.

In areas where the spider is prevalent, antivenom is available to counteract the effects of its potent venom. Prompt medical attention is crucial in these cases.

Brazilian Wandering Spiders have excellent eyesight.

With their eight eyes, these spiders have keen vision and can detect movement from a considerable distance.

They are nocturnal creatures.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is primarily active during the night, using its superior vision and hunting skills to locate prey.

These spiders can deliver multiple bites in a single attack.

When threatened, the Brazilian Wandering Spider may repeatedly bite its target, increasing the dosage of venom injected into the victim.

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are known to be highly aggressive.

When disturbed or cornered, these spiders are quick to display defensive behavior and may attack without hesitation.

They have bristly hairs on their bodies, known as urticating hairs.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider possesses specialized hairs on its abdomen that can cause irritation and discomfort when they come into contact with the skin.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is a member of the Ctenidae family.

Belonging to the Ctenidae family, which includes other wandering spiders, the Brazilian Wandering Spider is notable for its unique characteristics.

Female Brazilian Wandering Spiders protect their egg sacs diligently.

After laying their eggs, female Brazilian Wandering Spiders guard their egg sacs fiercely to ensure the survival of their offspring.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating creatures in the animal kingdom. Their unique characteristics and behaviors make them a subject of both awe and fear. From their lethal venom to their uncanny ability to wander into unexpected places, these spiders have managed to capture the attention of researchers and enthusiasts alike.

Understanding the 17 surprising facts about the Brazilian Wandering Spider gives us a glimpse into their world and highlights their significance in the ecosystem. From their impressive hunting techniques to their role as both predator and prey, these spiders play a vital role in maintaining the balance of nature.

While encountering a Brazilian Wandering Spider in the wild might be a rarity for many, it’s important to respect these creatures and appreciate their beauty from a safe distance. By learning more about them, we can cultivate a greater understanding and appreciation for the diverse and awe-inspiring world of animals.

Q: Are Brazilian Wandering Spiders really dangerous?

A: Yes, they are. Brazilian Wandering Spiders are considered one of the most venomous spiders in the world. Their bite can be fatal if not treated promptly.

Q: Where are Brazilian Wandering Spiders found?

A: These spiders are native to various regions in South America , including Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru.

Q: How big do Brazilian Wandering Spiders get?

A: Adult Brazilian Wandering Spiders can have a leg span of up to 6 inches, making them one of the largest spiders in the world.

Q: What do Brazilian Wandering Spiders eat?

A: They primarily feed on insects, but they have also been known to eat small reptiles and amphibians.

Q: Are Brazilian Wandering Spiders aggressive?

A: Brazilian Wandering Spiders can exhibit aggressive behavior if they feel threatened. It’s important to exercise caution and avoid provoking them.

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What's That Bug?

Wandering Spider: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell

Wandering spiders are a group of venomous arachnids found primarily in South America.

Among these, the Brazilian wandering spider is particularly known for its potent venom and unique behavior. They are often referred to as “banana spiders” due to their frequent encounters with humans in banana plantations.

As a reader, you might be interested in learning more about these fascinating creatures, including their habitat, hunting techniques, and the effects of their venom.

In this article, we will delve into the world of wandering spiders and provide you with all the essential information to satisfy your curiosity.

Scientific Classification and Naming

The wandering spider belongs to the genus Phoneutria , which is a part of the Ctenidae family.

These spiders are known for their potent venom and aggressive behavior. Here is the scientific classification of the wandering spider:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Family: Ctenidae
  • Genus: Phoneutria

Within the genus Phoneutria, two species are particularly noteworthy: Phoneutria fera and Phoneutria nigriventer, also known as P. nigriventer . These spiders are primarily found in South America and other tropical regions.

Phoneutria fera and P. nigriventer differ in some aspects. Let’s compare their features using a table:

Some key characteristics of the wandering spiders in the genus Phoneutria include:

  • Potent venom that can be dangerous to humans
  • Nocturnal hunters and are active at night
  • Equipped with long, spiny legs for capturing prey
  • Aggressive defenders of their territory

By understanding the scientific classification and differences between Phoneutria species, you can better appreciate the diversity and fascinating biology of these wandering spiders.

Identification and Appearance

Color and size.

The wandering spider, also known as the banana spider, has a distinctive appearance that can help you easily identify it in the wild.

They usually have a combination of hairy brown and black colors on their body. Their size can vary, but they are generally considered large spiders. Their size can range from 1 to 2 inches in body length.

When it comes to wandering spider’s leg span, these creatures can have an impressive reach. Their leg span can extend up to 5-6 inches.

Some key characteristics of a wandering spider’s legs include:

Habitat and Distribution

Wandering Spiders are known to inhabit various environments, including rainforests and tropical forests.

These spiders can adapt to different habitats based on their needs and availability of food sources. They prefer warm and humid places, as these conditions suit their growth and reproduction.

Geographical Coverage

Wandering spiders are found in Central and South America .

They live in forests from Costa Rica to Argentina, including Colombia, Venezuela, The Guianas, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Northern Argentina.

They may also be present in some parts of the United States, particularly in the northern part of southern America.

However, they don’t inhabit countries like Australia. In summary, the Wandering Spider is mostly prevalent in the following areas:

  • South America
  • Central America
  • Southern parts of the United States

Types of Wandering Spiders

Here’s a brief description of the major types of wandering spiders.

Brazilian wandering spiders

Also known as armed or banana spiders, these spiders are nocturnal and don’t make webs.

They are known to have been transported outside of South America in banana shipments.

Phoneutria nigriventer

These spiders contain neurotoxins that can cause cerebral changes and breakdown of the blood-brain barrier .

Their venom is medically significant and has been used in manufacturing drugs. Their bites may be fatal to children.

Ctenus captiosus

Also known as the Florida false wolf spider or tropical wolf spider, this species is found in the United States.

Some species of these spiders are large and scary-looking, but they’re only mildly venomous. Their venom is comparable to a bee sting.

Other types of wandering spiders include: Acantheis, Acanthoctenus, Africactenus, and Afroneutria.

Behavior and Diet

Aggression level.

Wandering spiders, as their name suggests, are known for their aggressive behavior .

While they won’t attack without provocation, if they feel threatened, they will not hesitate to defend themselves.

This is especially true during mating season.

Prey and Predators

In their natural habitat, wandering spiders primarily feed on insects and small vertebrates, such as:

  • Insects like ants and moths
  • Small amphibians

This diverse diet allows them to thrive in various ecosystems.

However, they are not top predators, as their natural predators include larger birds, mammals, and other spiders.

Nocturnal Activities

Wandering spiders are nocturnal creatures , which means they are active during the night.

During the day, they remain hidden in their retreats, often made from rolled-up leaves or small crevices.

At night, they leave their hiding spots to search for prey using their strong hunting skills.

brazilian wandering spider habitat

Venom and Its Effects

Composition of venom.

The venom of the wandering spider is a complex mixture containing several toxic components.

Its main component is a potent neurotoxin, which can have severe effects on your nervous system 1 . Here’s a brief overview of its composition:

  • Neurotoxins

Symptoms and Severity

A wandering spider’s venomous bite can cause a wide range of symptoms, depending on the severity of envenomation. These symptoms may include 2 :

  • Mild to moderate pain
  • Redness and swelling at the bite site
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blurred vision
  • High blood pressure

Some severe cases may result in life-threatening complications, such as respiratory failure or even death 2 .

Medical Treatment and Antivenom

If bitten by a wandering spider, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Treatment often involves the following steps:

  • Cleaning and immobilizing the affected area
  • Monitoring and managing the symptoms
  • Administering antivenom if it’s available and appropriate, depending on the severity of envenomation 3

Antivenom is specific to the venom of the wandering spider and can help neutralize its effects.

However, the availability of antivenom may be limited in some regions 3 .

Always remember that prevention is better than cure: learning how to identify and avoid wandering spiders is the best way to stay safe.

Reproduction and Mating

Mating ritual.

When it’s time for reproduction, the wandering spider undergoes an intriguing mating ritual.

The male spider performs a dance to attract the female by displaying his brightly colored legs and vibrating his body.

During the process, the male also produces a sperm web and transfers his sperm to the female’s reproductive organs using his pedipalps.

Egg Sacs and Offspring

After the mating process, the female wandering spider will create an egg sac to protect her eggs.

The sac consists of silk and can hold hundreds of eggs. She then attaches it to a safe hiding place, usually against a protective surface or within a secure web.

The female often guards the egg sac to ensure the protection of her offspring until they hatch.

Once the spiderlings hatch, they are known to be highly independent.

They disperse quickly and start their own journey, fending for themselves soon after emerging from the egg sac.

As they grow, they’ll go through a series of molts before reaching adulthood and beginning their own reproductive cycle.

Danger and Defense Mechanisms

The Wandering Spider is known to be one of the most dangerous spiders in the world.

Although they can potentially kill humans, fatalities are rare due to their reluctance to bite.

Oddly enough, their venom can cause an involuntary erection in men, alongside other painful symptoms.

Here are some ways the Wandering Spider protects itself and displays its dangerous nature:

  • Fangs : These spiders are equipped with strong, sharp fangs that can easily pierce human skin, allowing them to inject their venom with ease.
  • Venom : Their venom is potent and can cause severe pain, inflammation, and other adverse effects. In rare cases, it can even lead to death.

While interacting with Wandering Spiders, be cautious and observe them from a safe distance.

Knowing their defense mechanisms will help you respect their space and avoid any unpleasant encounters.

Remember, it’s essential to be informed and aware when dealing with these fascinating, yet dangerous creatures.

Comparison with Other Dangerous Spiders

Comparison to black widow.

The black widow spider is notorious for its potent venom, but the wandering spider has a stronger venom overall.

Both spiders are capable of causing severe symptoms, but the black widow’s venom is primarily neurotoxic, affecting your nervous system.

In contrast, the wandering spider’s venom can cause both neurotoxic and cytotoxic effects, potentially damaging your nerves and cells.

  • Potent neurotoxic venom
  • Red hourglass marking
  • Stronger venom (neurotoxic and cytotoxic)
  • No distinct marking

Comparison to Brown Recluse

The brown recluse spider is known for its necrotic venom that can lead to tissue damage and sometimes requires medical intervention.

While both the brown recluse and wandering spider can produce venomous bites, wandering spiders are considered more dangerous due to the potency of their venom and the severity of their bite symptoms.

  • Necrotic venom
  • Dark violin-shaped marking

Comparison to Wolf Spider

Wolf spiders are frequently mistaken for more dangerous spiders due to their size and appearance.

Although they can bite, their venom is not particularly potent and generally only causes mild itching, redness, and swelling.

In comparison, the wandering spider’s venom is far more dangerous, and its bite can result in serious symptoms, requiring immediate medical attention.

  • Large and hairy
  • Smoother appearance

Comparison to Sydney Funnel-Web Spider

The Sydney funnel-web spider is another highly venomous spider known for its potentially lethal bites.

While both spiders possess powerful venom, the wandering spider has a broader range of symptoms due to the combination of neurotoxic and cytotoxic effects.

In conclusion, wandering spiders are more dangerous than wolf spiders but their venom’s effects are more varied compared to black widows, brown recluses, and Sydney funnel-web spiders.

Be cautious around these spiders and seek medical help if bitten.

Interesting Facts and Guinness World Records

The Wandering Spider, also known as the Brazilian Wandering Spider, is a fascinating creature that has caught the attention of many.

They belong to the genus Phoneutria , which means “murderess” in Greek, giving you an idea of their potency. Let’s explore some interesting facts about this spider and its place in the Guinness World Records.

First, you might be curious about their venom. The Wandering Spider is known for having one of the most potent venoms among spiders.

In fact, it holds the Guinness World Record for the most venomous spider. Their venom contains a potent neurotoxin that can cause severe symptoms, including difficulty breathing, high blood pressure, and intense pain.

Apart from their venom, their behavior is also quite intriguing. These spiders are called “wandering” because they are known for actively hunting their prey rather than spinning webs to catch them.

They are mostly nocturnal creatures and, during the day, can be found hiding in logs or dark crevices.

Here are a few more notable characteristics of the Wandering Spider:

  • Females are larger than males, with a body length of up to 1.6 inches (4 cm).
  • They have eight eyes, arranged in two rows, which help them in hunting.
  • The Wandering Spider is primarily found in Central and South America, particularly in Brazil.
  • They are known to show aggression when threatened.

While the Wandering Spider is a marvel of the arachnid world, it’s essential to keep a safe distance from them due to their venomous nature.

However, their unique characteristics and record-breaking venom potency make them a fascinating subject for those interested in the natural world.

Prevention and Safety Measures

To protect yourself from wandering spiders, there are some simple safety measures you can take.

Firstly, be cautious in areas where these spiders may live, such as dark and warm spaces. For example, avoid reaching into crevices or lifting piles of wood without inspecting them first.

Always wear appropriate shoes when outdoors, particularly in wooded or grassy areas. This can help prevent bites on your feet or ankles.

Reduce the risk of wandering spiders entering your home by sealing gaps and cracks. This minimizes the chance of the spiders finding a way inside.

Regularly clean your living spaces, paying special attention to dark and hidden areas. By maintaining a clean environment, you’ll discourage wandering spiders from making themselves at home.

When out in nature, avoid disturbing spider habitats like webs or egg sacs. This can prevent agitating wandering spiders, reducing your chance of accidental encounters.

Remember, wandering spiders can be dangerous, but by taking these precautions, you can significantly reduce your risk of encountering them or being bitten. Stay safe and always be aware of your surroundings.

In summary, wandering spiders, particularly those in the genus Phoneutria, are a group of venomous arachnids predominantly found in Central, South America and parts of Southern United States.

These spiders, including the Brazilian wandering spider, are known for their potent venom, nocturnal hunting habits, and aggressive defense mechanisms.

Their venom, containing neurotoxins and other components, can cause severe symptoms in humans, making them one of the most dangerous spider species.

Despite their fearsome reputation, fatalities are rare, and they play a vital role in their ecosystems.

It’s important to respect their space and take preventive measures to avoid encounters. Understanding these spiders’ behavior, habitat, and characteristics can help in appreciating their role in nature while ensuring safety.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2857337/ ↩

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3851068/ ↩ ↩ 2

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6560916/ ↩ ↩ 2

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about wandering spiders. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Wandering Spider from Ecuador

brazilian wandering spider habitat

Hi Michele, There is a resemblance to the Dolomedes Fishing Spiders, and finding it near a river lends credence to that possibility. Eric Eaton noticed this posting and has this to say: ” Ok, the spiders from Ecuador and Costa Rica: They are most likely NOT wolf spiders, but wandering spiders, either in the family Ctenidae or Sparassidae. They tend to be more common, and even larger than, wolf spiders in the tropics. At least one species, Phoneutria fera, is extremely aggressive, with potentially deadly venom. Do not mess with large spiders in Central and South America! The venomous types are very difficult to distinguish from harmless species, and in any event, a bite is going to be really painful. These spiders sometimes stow away in bananas, houseplants, and other exported goods, so they can show up in odd places. Be careful where you put your hands.”

Update:  May 14, 2013 We now have a confirmation that this is a Wandering Spider, Phoneutria fera , and it is a dangerous species.  See Encyclopedia Britannica and Animal Corner .

Letter 2 – Brazilian Wandering Spider: Most Venomous Animal

brazilian wandering spider habitat

Hi Martin, We are happy you were able to write to us after your encounter with this Brazilian Wandering Spider and are thrilled to be able to post your story and photos to our site. We started to research, and our first hit has a different species name. Phoneutria fera is described as: “The Brazilian Wandering Spider is not for the ‘pet keeper’. Brazilian Wandering Spiders are extremely fast, extremely venomous, and extremely aggressive. These large and dangerous true spiders are ranked among the most venomous spiders known to man. In fact, the Brazilian Wandering Spider is the most venomous spider in the New World! In South America, these true spiders are commonly encountered in peoples’ homes, supposedly hiding in peoples’ shoes, hats, and other clothes. The Brazilian Wandering Spider does not remain on a web, rather, it wanders the forest floor, hence the name.” Our favorite information on Wikipedia is that Phoneutria is Greek for “murderess”. Here is one final tidbit about the effect of the bite of the Brazilian Wandering Spider on the human male .

Letter 3 – Possibly Wandering Spider from Ecuador

brazilian wandering spider habitat

Dear Mike, This is really an interesting Spider, but other than to say it appears to be a hunting spider that does not build a web to entrap prey, we aren’t sure about its identity.  Many hunting spiders can jump quite well.  It looks very much like the spider in a posting in our archives, also from Ecuador, that we identified as possibly a Wandering Spider in the genus Phoneutria, a venomous and potentially dangerous genus .  The spotted legs on your individual look like the spotted legs on an individual in an image on Wikipedia of a Wandering Spider in the genus Phoneutria .  There are many images of Brazilian Wandering Spiders on Primal Shutter and we believe that might be a correct identification for your individual.

Thank you for the information.  After reading more about the spider, I’m glad it didn’t jump! Mike

Letter 4 – Possibly Wandering Spider from Ecuador

Possibly Wandering Spider

Dear Carl, We believe, though we are not certain, that this might be a Wandering Spider in the genus Phoneutria, and you may read more about Wandering Spiders on the Museum für Naturkunde Karlsruhe website where it states:  “There is no doubt that the venom of some of the species is quite potent for mammals, including humans.”  We eagerly welcome additional opinions on this identification.  Perhaps Cesar Crash of Insetologia can provide something.  In the future, please submit a single species per submission form as it makes it extremely difficult for us to categorize postings with multiple species.

Letter 5 – Wandering Spider from Belize

brazilian wandering spider habitat

Hi Karl, Thanks for allowing us to post your excellent image of a Wandering Spider, Cupiennius salei .  The species is pictured on iNaturalist .

Bugman

Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page .

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Piyushi Dhir

Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

8 thoughts on “Wandering Spider: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell”

Hi Michele, I am an Ecuadorian scientist and specialized on spiders, I would like to find one like yours, I can say that, almost without doubt, you found the Phoneutria itself, it is the Phoneutria fera, look at this picture: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-bFH9qzT0F7U/T_2sZuk6xAI/AAAAAAAAAGY/8jnMVcPOcNI/s1600/phoneutria_fera2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://rangerbaiano.blogspot.com/2012/07/animais-peconhentos-e-venenosos.html&usg=__iCWEz7S86xub6RAyvXTER6HBaco=&h=864&w=834&sz=215&hl=es-419&start=6&zoom=1&tbnid=jjOROVO9h-vKXM:&tbnh=145&tbnw=140&ei=99eRUY6xKo2K9QTLvYCoDQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dphoneutria%2Bfera%26sa%3DN%26hl%3Des-US%26sout%3D1%26tbm%3Disch%26prmd%3Divns&itbs=1&sa=X&ved=0CDYQrQMwBQ Can you see the similarities?, unfortunately the spider might be in a better life today 🙂 Another thing, when you want identifications you should take a picture in front, the under part, and the upper part, as well as some characteristics about behaviour like how they react when you approach. The Phoneutria is a very agressive one.. best wishes, bye.

Hi Miguel, Thanks so much for the comment. This is a seven year old posting and we did not have the ability to post comments when it was originally posted online. We have made an update on What’s That Bug? and your comment is greatly appreciated.

Ah, there is also needed the size and the picture of its face so we can see the eye arrangement, depending on that it could also be pisauridae, but I stay in Ctenidae..

This is a female Cupiennius sp. wandering spider.

Perhaps surprisingly, this ubiquitous large spider of the Mindo area appears to be undescribed to species level.

Although one is indeed best advised to exercise caution in the presence of large ctenids, members of the genus Cupiennius are not known to be dangerously venomous (Barth, 2002). By way of confirmation, my girlfriend, Shannon Bowley, managed to be bitten by a mature female of this Mindo species in 2013 – she felt only mild effects, equivalent to a bee sting.

Thanks for this valuable information.

I’m planning a trip to Ecuador and I’m fearing these spiders. Do they get in houses? Any tips to keep them out, so I can sleep at night?

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AnimalBehaviorCorner

AnimalBehaviorCorner

Brazilian Wandering Spider-AnimalBehaviorCorner

Brazilian Wandering Spider

brazilian wandering spider habitat

Brazilian Wandering Spider , scientifically known as Phoneutria, emerges as a captivating enigma in the realm of arachnids.

Renowned for its formidable reputation as one of the world’s most venomous spiders , Phoneutria embodies a plethora of intriguing traits that have captured the curiosity of enthusiasts and researchers alike.

From its distinctive appearance and neurotoxic venom to its nomadic hunting strategies and unique mating behaviors , this remarkable spider species holds a wealth of fascinating secrets waiting to be unraveled.

Join us as we embark on a journey to explore the captivating world of the Brazilian Wandering Spider, shedding light on its captivating characteristics and dispelling myths that have shrouded its true nature.

1. Taxonomy and Distribution of the Brazilian Wandering Spider

A. scientific classification of phoneutria.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider, scientifically referred to as Phoneutria, occupies a distinct place within the arachnid taxonomy.

Brazilian Wandering Spider-AnimalBehaviorCorner

Belonging to the family Ctenidae, this spider genus is further categorized into several species, each boasting unique traits and behaviors .

Phoneutria’s taxonomic position not only distinguishes it from its arachnid counterparts but also underscores its intriguing evolutionary journey.

B. Native Habitat in South and Central America

Endemic to the lush landscapes of South and Central America, the Brazilian Wandering Spider finds its natural haven within these diverse regions.

From the rainforests of the Amazon to the tropical stretches of the Caribbean, Phoneutria has adapted to a range of environments over the course of its evolution.

The spider’s ancestral ties to these regions are tightly woven into their behaviors , anatomy, and survival strategies.

C. Preference for Tropical Rainforests and Urban Areas

Within its native territories, the Brazilian Wandering Spider exhibits remarkable versatility in its chosen habitats.

While it thrives amidst the vibrant biodiversity of tropical rainforests, it has also displayed a propensity for urban locales.

Brazilian Wandering Spider-AnimalBehaviorCorner

Phoneutria’s adaptability has led it to establish a presence in urban areas, where it often finds shelter in crevices, gardens, and even human dwellings.

This adaptability to both wild and urban spaces further showcases the spider’s resilience and capacity to thrive in varying conditions.

2. Physical Characteristics of the Brazilian Wandering Spider

A. size, coloration, and distinctive markings.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider , a creature of remarkable visual intrigue, boasts an array of captivating physical attributes.

Ranging in size from a few centimeters to several inches, Phoneutria showcases a size diversity that reflects the breadth of its genus.

Its coloration varies across species, encompassing shades of brown, black, and gray, often accompanied by intricate patterns and markings that adorn its exoskeleton.

These unique markings serve not only as a visual spectacle but also as essential components of its survival toolkit.

B. Camouflage and Defense Mechanisms

The Brazilian Wandering Spider’s appearance is a masterpiece of evolution, meticulously crafted to ensure both survival and predation .

Brazilian Wandering Spider-AnimalBehaviorCorner

Its coloration and markings are tailor-made for blending seamlessly into its surroundings, granting it a potent advantage in ambushing prey and evading predators . Moreover, these markings also play a role in its defense mechanisms.

When threatened, Phoneutria adopts a defensive posture, raising its front legs and revealing its striking markings, a visual warning to potential threats. This dual-purpose camouflage and defense strategy exemplify nature’s ingenuity at its finest.

C. Sexual Dimorphism: Unveiling Gender Differences

A fascinating facet of the Brazilian Wandering Spider lies in the realm of sexual dimorphism , where gender-based variations manifest in pronounced ways.

Females tend to be larger and more robust than their male counterparts, showcasing a size disparity that has evolved in tandem with their roles in reproduction and hunting .

Beyond size, other characteristics, such as leg structure and coloration, also exhibit subtle differences between male and female Phoneutria specimens.

This divergence in physical traits adds depth to our understanding of the species’ intricate biology and behavior .

In exploring the physical characteristics of the Brazilian Wandering Spider , we uncover a canvas painted with size diversity, intricate coloration, and unique markings.

These features, finely tuned by evolution, contribute to its prowess in camouflage and defense, while the fascinating interplay of sexual dimorphism further enriches our perception of this captivating arachnid species .

3. Venomous Nature of the Brazilian Wandering Spider

A. potent neurotoxic venom: a silent lethal weapon.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider, known scientifically as Phoneutria, harbors a venomous arsenal that stands as a testament to nature’s intricate design.

Brazilian Wandering Spider-AnimalBehaviorCorner

This spider’s venom contains a potent concoction of neurotoxic compounds, tailored by evolution to incapacitate its prey swiftly and efficiently.

The neurotoxins interfere with nerve cell communication, leading to paralysis and ensuring that Phoneutria’s quarry is rendered immobile and defenseless, setting the stage for a successful meal.

B. Effects on Prey and Human Hazard

When a victim succumbs to the Brazilian Wandering Spider’s venom , the effects are a symphony of paralysis and predation .

The venom’s impact on the prey’s nervous system results in swift immobilization, offering the spider a decisive advantage in subduing its catch.

While this venomous efficiency is well-adapted for predation, it also underscores the potential danger to humans.

A bite from Phoneutria can lead to a series of neurotoxic reactions, with varying degrees of severity depending on factors such as the individual’s age and overall health.

While human envenomations are relatively rare, they can result in a range of symptoms, from localized pain and swelling to more severe neurological effects.

C. Recorded Cases of Envenomations: Unraveling the Symptoms

Throughout history, documented cases of Phoneutria envenomations have offered insights into the spider’s potential threat to humans .

Brazilian Wandering Spider-AnimalBehaviorCorner

Symptoms typically include intense pain at the bite site, accompanied by swelling and redness . In some instances, victims have reported systemic reactions, such as muscle cramps, elevated heart rate, and even breathing difficulties.

Swift medical attention and the administration of antivenom have proven effective in mitigating the severity of these symptoms.

These cases serve as a reminder of the delicate balance between the Brazilian Wandering Spider’s potent venom and the potential risks it poses to those who unwittingly encounter it.

4. Hunting and Diet of the Brazilian Wandering Spider

A. hunting techniques and wandering behavior.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider, scientifically known as Phoneutria, unveils a mesmerizing repertoire of hunting techniques that set it apart as a master predator .

Displaying an agile and nomadic behavior , Phoneutria does not confine itself to the confines of a web. Instead, it actively prowls its surroundings, tirelessly searching for potential prey.

This dynamic wandering behavior ensures that its chances of encountering a variety of food sources are maximized, showcasing a strategic approach to sustenance.

B. Active Hunting Triumphs Over Web-Building

Unlike its web-weaving counterparts, the Brazilian Wandering Spider relies on a more hands-on approach to securing its next meal.

While weaving webs might seem an efficient method, Phoneutria’s active hunting strategy offers a distinct advantage in versatility.

By forgoing the constraints of a stationary web, it can tailor its approach to suit different environments and prey types, adapting its tactics on the fly.

This adaptability demonstrates the spider’s remarkable ability to adjust its methods for optimal results.

C. Diverse Prey Spectrum: Insects to Small Vertebrates

Phoneutria’s diet is a testament to its prowess as an opportunistic predator . Its menu spans a diverse range of creatures, from insects like crickets and cockroaches to small vertebrates such as lizards and frogs , and even small rodents.

Brazilian Wandering Spider-AnimalBehaviorCorner

This wide-ranging palate highlights its ecological significance in controlling various populations within its habitat.

By consuming creatures both large and small, Phoneutria ensures a balanced ecosystem, playing a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity and ecological equilibrium.

5. Mating and Reproduction of the Brazilian Wandering Spider

A. courtship rituals and behaviors: a complex affair.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider, scientifically referred to as Phoneutria, reveals a captivating array of courtship rituals and behaviors that form the cornerstone of its reproductive cycle.

Courtship among these arachnids is a complex affair, involving intricate dances and displays that serve as both communication and assessment.

Male Phoneutria employs a combination of visual cues, vibrations, and tactile interactions to court potential mates.

This elaborate courtship process highlights the significance of precise communication in the delicate dance of reproduction .

B. Cannibalistic Tendencies: A Post-Mating Phenomenon

An aspect that sets Phoneutria’s mating process apart is the notorious cannibalistic tendency exhibited by females after mating.

Following successful mating, females may exhibit an inclination to consume their partners. This seemingly counterintuitive behavior has evolutionary underpinnings.

It is believed that this cannibalistic act not only provides the female with a much-needed nutritional boost but also eliminates potential competitors and safeguards the male’s investment in the next generation.

This intriguing behavior sheds light on the complexities of reproductive strategies within the species.

C. The Unique Mating Plug Phenomenon: A Puzzling Enigma

A distinctive feature in Phoneutria’s reproductive saga is the enigmatic mating plug phenomenon. After mating, male Phoneutria deposit a specialized substance that forms a plug within the female’s reproductive tract.

This plug is believed to serve multiple purposes. It may prevent other males from mating with the female, thus ensuring the successful transmission of the mating male’s genetic material.

Additionally, it might aid in sealing off the female’s reproductive tract, potentially protecting her from external pathogens.

This phenomenon underscores the intricate interplay of biological strategies that contribute to the species’ reproductive success.

6. Human Interaction and Urban Legends of the Brazilian Wandering Spider

A. occasional presence in urban areas: nature in our midst.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider, scientifically known as Phoneutria, has carved a niche for itself not only in the wild but also in the fabric of urban environments.

Brazilian Wandering Spider-AnimalBehaviorCorner

While its primary habitats are the lush landscapes of South and Central America, Phoneutria occasionally ventures into human -inhabited spaces. Its adaptability allows it to find shelter in gardens, crevices, and even within homes.

This coexistence with humans adds an intriguing dimension to our encounters with this enigmatic arachnid .

B. Debunking Misconceptions: Separating Fact from Fiction

The presence of the Brazilian Wandering Spider has sparked a plethora of misconceptions and exaggerated tales, contributing to the creation of urban legends.

Stories of spiders leaping from banana bunches or hiding under toilet seats have become part of modern folklore, often fueled by sensationalism.

It’s crucial to sift through these tales and recognize that while Phoneutria’s venom is potent, the likelihood of encountering a dangerous encounter is relatively low.

Separating fact from fiction empowers individuals to approach these creatures with accurate knowledge.

C. Importance of Proper Education: Identifying Friend from Foe

Education plays a pivotal role in fostering a harmonious coexistence between humans and the Brazilian Wandering Spider .

Learning to identify and understand the behaviors of Phoneutria species enhances safety for both humans and the spiders themselves.

Instead of succumbing to unwarranted fear, individuals can take steps to reduce the chances of accidental encounters and, if necessary, engage in responsible removal methods.

By arming themselves with knowledge, individuals can navigate encounters with urban-dwelling Phoneutria specimens with confidence and respect.

7. Brazilian Wandering Spider Conservation and Misunderstanding

A. significance of phoneutria in ecosystem dynamics.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider , scientifically termed Phoneutria, assumes a pivotal role within its ecosystem, contributing to a delicate balance of populations and interactions.

Brazilian Wandering Spider-AnimalBehaviorCorner

As a top-tier predator , it plays a crucial part in controlling insect and small vertebrate populations, preventing unchecked growth that could disrupt the ecosystem’s equilibrium.

By maintaining these population dynamics, Phoneutria ensures the health and stability of its habitat, highlighting its significance beyond its ominous reputation.

B. Impact of Fear and Misunderstanding: Hindrances to Conservation

Despite its ecological contributions, the Brazilian Wandering Spider often falls victim to fear-driven misconceptions that negatively impact conservation efforts.

Misunderstandings surrounding its behavior and potential danger can lead to unwarranted extermination campaigns and habitat destruction.

Fear-driven reactions not only disrupt the natural balance but also hinder opportunities to study and appreciate the species for its ecological significance.

Addressing these misconceptions is crucial to ensuring the spider’s survival and maintaining the health of its ecosystems.

C. Efforts to Dispel Myths and Promote Coexistence

Efforts to conserve the Brazilian Wandering Spider are interwoven with endeavors to educate and dispel myths.

By providing accurate information and dispelling exaggerated tales, conservationists aim to reshape public perception.

Collaborative initiatives emphasize coexistence, highlighting the importance of responsible behavior when encountering Phoneutria.

Educating communities about the spider’s role, behavior, and conservation status fosters an environment where fear gives way to appreciation, and where balanced cohabitation becomes a reality.

8. Research and Medical Significance of the Brazilian Wandering Spider

A. ongoing scientific research on phoneutria venom.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider , Phoneutria, has garnered significant attention from the scientific community due to the unique properties of its venom.

Ongoing research delves into the intricate composition of the venom, aiming to unlock its mysteries and potential applications in various fields.

The diverse array of compounds within the venom, particularly its neurotoxic components, has attracted interest for their potential medical and therapeutic implications.

B. Antivenom Development and Therapeutic Prospects

One of the most promising areas of research surrounding Phoneutria lies in the development of antivenoms and therapeutic agents.

Brazilian Wandering Spider-AnimalBehaviorCorner

The venom’s potent neurotoxic effects on the nervous system have spurred efforts to create targeted treatments for conditions such as chronic pain and neurological disorders .

Additionally, the potential for antivenoms holds promise in mitigating the effects of envenomations, offering a lifeline for individuals who encounter these spiders .

This focus on harnessing the venom’s properties for positive medical outcomes highlights the transformative potential within this enigmatic arachnid .

C. Balanced Perspectives: Navigating Ethical and Scientific Endeavors

While research on the Brazilian Wandering Spider’s venom offers tremendous potential, it necessitates a balanced perspective.

As researchers probe the venom’s properties, ethical considerations arise, including the well-being of the spiders and their ecosystems.

A holistic approach acknowledges the value of understanding Phoneutria’s natural behaviors and conserving its habitats.

This balanced perspective extends to utilizing the venom’s potential responsibly, ensuring that breakthroughs are achieved while respecting the complex interplay of science and nature.

9. Frequently Asked Questions about the Brazilian Wandering Spider

What is the brazilian wandering spider.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider , scientifically known as Phoneutria, is a venomous arachnid found in South and Central America. It’s notorious for its potent venom and is considered one of the most venomous spiders in the world.

Is the Brazilian Wandering Spider dangerous to humans?

Yes, the Brazilian Wandering Spider’s venom contains potent neurotoxins that can cause a range of symptoms in humans , from localized pain and swelling to more severe reactions. While bites are relatively rare, it’s advisable to exercise caution when encountering these spiders.

What is the spider’s habitat?

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is native to tropical rainforests of South and Central America. However, it’s adaptable and can also be found in urban areas, such as gardens and houses.

How does the Brazilian Wandering Spider hunt?

Unlike many spiders that build webs, Phoneutria is an active hunter. It roams its environment in search of prey, relying on its keen senses to detect vibrations and movements.

Are Brazilian Wandering Spiders aggressive toward humans?

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are not naturally aggressive towards humans and will typically only bite in self-defense. However, caution is advised, especially in areas where these spiders are known to inhabit.

Can the Brazilian Wandering Spider’s venom be used for medical purposes?

Yes, research is ongoing into the potential medical applications of Phoneutria’s venom. Its neurotoxic properties have sparked interest in pain management and neurological treatments.

Is the spider’s reputation for crawling into banana shipments true?

While there have been stories of Brazilian Wandering Spiders being found in shipments of bananas, these occurrences are extremely rare. Spiders are unlikely to survive the conditions of shipping and storage.

How can I stay safe around Brazilian Wandering Spiders?

To stay safe, it’s important to be cautious when encountering spiders in their natural habitat. Avoid provoking or handling them, especially if you’re unsure of their identity. If you suspect you’ve been bitten, seek medical attention promptly.

Are there any efforts to conserve the Brazilian Wandering Spider?

Conservation efforts for the Brazilian Wandering Spider are intertwined with public education and dispelling myths. Recognizing its role in ecosystems and promoting coexistence are essential steps in preserving this unique species.

What can I do if I find a Brazilian Wandering Spider in my home?

If you encounter a Brazilian Wandering Spider in your home, it’s advisable to contact local pest control professionals who can safely remove the spider without causing harm.

In the intricate tapestry of nature, the Brazilian Wandering Spider , Phoneutria, emerges as a creature of both fascination and caution.

Its venomous nature and captivating behaviors have earned it a place among the most enigmatic arachnids .

As we continue to explore its world, debunk myths, and understand its vital role in ecosystems, we find a delicate balance between awe and respect.

Armed with knowledge, we navigate the realm of Phoneutria, appreciating its complexity while fostering coexistence, a testament to the intricate dance between humans and the natural world.

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Top 10 Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts

If you suffer from an acute fear of gigantic spiders , then you better stop reading now.

If you are up for the challenge, then this post will allow you to discover the ultimate list of interesting Brazilian wandering spider facts , a pretty big spider common in the northern part of South America.

1. Brazilian wandering spiders are a genus of spiders

The Brazilian wandering spider is a genus of spiders that consists of 8 recognized species . This genus is known scientifically as “ Phoneutria ” and is part of the wandering spider family called “ Ctenidae ” which includes dozens of genera.

All wandering spiders are extremely venomous and defensive , but as opposed to common belief, only a few species can produce venom that is dangerous to humans. Regardless, it’s best to remain cautious of these hunting creatures because they don’t hesitate to bite !

brazilian wandering spider facts

2. They have a couple of different names as well

The most common name for spiders in the genus Phoneutria is the Brazilian wandering spider, but they also have a couple of different names. In Brazilian Portuguese, they are referred to as “ armadeiras ,” which translates to “ armed spiders .”

Another nickname of these spiders is “ banana spiders ” because of their habit to hide in both banana trees and banana boxes when shipped abroad. This name isn’t unique, however, because several types of spiders that share this behavior are referred to as such .

3. Only one species can be found in Central America

Even though this particular genus is referred to as the “ Brazilian wandering spider ,” they can be found in multiple countries in South America. Here’s an overview of the 8 different species of Brazilian wandering spiders and the location they can be found in:

  • Phoneutria bahiensis – Brazil
  • Phoneutria boliviensis – Central, South America
  • Phoneutria eickstedtae – Brazil
  • Phoneutria fera – Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Suriname, Guyana
  • Phoneutria keyserlingi – Brazil
  • Phoneutria nigriventer – Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina
  • Phoneutria pertyi – Brazil
  • Phoneutria reidyi – Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Guyana

As you can see, most of these species are native to countries in South America , but one of them also lives in Central America .

4. These spiders have very long legs and bodies

There are literally thousands of species in the infraorder “Araneomorphae” to which these spiders belong to. While some species do have a longer leg span than the largest Phoneutria species, they do have the longest body length and weight of all species in this infraorder.

This group also includes just about all spiders we have known, except for the largest spiders in the world , the Tarantulas ! In other words, if you come across a spider, it’s likely a member of the Araneomorphae.

The bodies of the adult Brazilian wandering spiders can grow anywhere between 1.7 and 4.8 centimeters (0.67 to 1.89 inches) . Their leg span reaches a length of anywhere between 13 and 18 centimeters (5.1 to 7.1 inches) , which means these are pretty big spiders!

brazilian wandering spider size

5. It’s not that easy to identify these creatures

Perhaps the most remarkable of the Brazilian wandering spider facts is that they possess a lot of features that make it hard to identify them. Especially a dense brush of fine hairs on various parts of their bodies is a feature common in many other spiders of the family Ctenidae .

Some species, on the other hand, lack hairs in particular spots which makes it even harder to identify them!

The most common features, on the other hand, are black stripes on top of their body and several rows of black dots on their abdomen. Some species also have an abdomen that is overall reddish in color , a pretty distinctive feature.

Brazilian Wandering spider

6. They have a particular posture when they feel threatened

Perhaps the best way to identify these creatures is their behavior when they feel threatened . if the particular spider tilts its body and holds its front legs up high in a distinctive defensive posture, it’s likely a Brazilian wandering spider.

As the spider is waving its front legs back and forth in an attempt to defend itself from imminent danger, it’s possible to see another distinctive feature , which is black bands on the underside of its legs .

brazilian wandering spider defensive position

7. You won’t see many of them wandering about during the day

As you probably guessed by now, these animals are referred to as wandering spiders because they, well, love to wander about ! This also means that they don’t maintain a web to catch their prey as many other types of spiders do.

They don’t walk around the jungle floor in the daytime, though, because these are actually nocturnal creatures that hunt at night . The problem with this is that they hide in the daytime, preferably in dark and moist places where they hope to be left alone.

wandering spider

8. They are considered to be very dangerous to humans

If you accidentally stick your hand in whatever hole they crawled in during the day, they won’t hesitate to use their venomous teeth ! What makes things even worse is that they can produce venom that is potentially deadly to humans , making them extremely dangerous.

Even though it’s generally believed that most spiders are dangerous, very few species carry venom which is potentially harmful to human beings . Brazilian wandering spiders are one of these few species!

The benefit we have is that their teeth aren’t adapted to envenomate large mammals (like us) but instead to kill small prey . While small animals don’t stand a chance after being bitten, if treated quickly, humans have a good chance of survival. Death is caused by a respiratory arrest in case the symptoms aren’t treated.

interesting brazilian wandering spider facts

9. They don’t always release their venom if they bite

The symptoms after being bitten by this dangerous creature include increased blood pressure, fever, sweating, visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.

Some experts believe , though, that these spiders can defend themselves by producing a so-called “ dry bite .” This means a bit without actually injecting venom . Very few spider species in the world can do this to save venom for cases when it’s needed more.

That’s probably the main reason why a study concluded that just 2.3% of bites required antivenom . Regardless, these are extremely dangerous creatures that are sometimes referred to as “ killer-spiders .”

10. Beware of the wandering spider when moving a box of bananas

The reason these creatures are referred to as “banana spiders” is because they often hide in boxes of bananas. These are shipped from Brazil to North America and Europe and sometimes, the wandering spider wasn’t able to leave the box and got shipped along with it.

This has sometimes resulted in bites after opening the box , such as this pub chef in Somerset who was bitten twice in 2005. Other people were luckier but still traumatized after these deadly creatures started wandering about in their house, such as this South London family in 2014.

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How to Identify a Brazilian Wandering Spider

Last Updated: February 12, 2021 Approved

This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff . Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 93% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 133,493 times.

The Brazilian wandering spider is a large, hairy spider that lives in South and Central America. It’s considered the most venomous spider in the world. Since these spiders sometimes wander right into towns, cities, and shipments of fruit, it’s important to be able to recognize this spider and know its habitat. If you happen to be bitten, you should get immediate medical attention. Don’t panic, however! These bites can almost always be treated.

Recognizing a Brazilian Wandering Spider

Step 1 Watch out for 6-inch (15 cm) long spiders with leg span.

  • Some spiders may be more yellowish than brown. Others may appear to have black legs, or black bands on brown legs. [3] X Research source

Step 3 Be prepared for a fast-moving spider.

  • Do not try to trap this spider. Call animal control professionals if you think you have one in your home or outdoor buildings, and leave those buildings while you wait for help.

Being Aware of Their Habitats

Step 1 Be on guard in Central and South America.

  • Small, unlit closets or nooks in homes
  • Outdoor sheds and garages
  • Unused clothes, shoes, or gloves
  • Boxes of food in pantries
  • Boxes in attics or garages

Step 3 Take care when opening fruit shipments.

Avoiding a Bite

Step 1 Wear protective gear in dark spaces or when moving firewood.

  • If a spider falls out, don’t panic. Back away slowly and leave the area.

Step 3 Inspect dark spots like closets before entering them.

  • You can also spray bug and spider repellant around doors and windows to ward off creepy crawlies.

Step 5 Don’t store firewood against your house.

Treating a Bite

Step 1 Contact emergency medical personnel right away.

  • In men, these bites can also cause a long and painful erection.

Step 3 Clean the wound with soap and water.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Keep in mind that these spiders prefer to wander along the ground. Always wear sturdy shoes if you are in an area where these spiders are known to live. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • These spiders are highly dangerous and should not be approached or provoked unless you are an expert such as an entomologist. They are recognized as one of the most dangerous spiders in the world and are the most venomous so they should always be treated with care and respect. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Children are more susceptible than adults to the venom of a Brazilian wandering spider, and you should ensure that any child who’s bitten gets medical attention as quickly as possible. Thanks Helpful 5 Not Helpful 0

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  • ↑ https://www.livescience.com/41591-brazilian-wandering-spiders.html
  • ↑ http://www.wandering-spiders.net/phoneutria/gallery/
  • ↑ https://animalcorner.co.uk/animals/brazilian-wandering-spider/
  • ↑ http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/s2013/johnson_jor4/habitat.htm
  • ↑ http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/spider-bites/manage/ptc-20204189
  • ↑ https://www.livescience.com/37974-he-surprising-cause-of-most-spider-bites.html
  • ↑ http://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-spider-bites/basics/art-20056618
  • ↑ http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/snakebite-treatment

About this article

wikiHow Staff

To identify a Brazilian wandering spider, look for a spider with a long leg span of about 6 inches and a brown, hairy body. Also, carefully examine the spider from afar to see if it has large red fangs, which are common in Brazilian wandering spiders. Keep in mind that Brazilian wandering spiders only live in South and Central America. If you encounter one, move away slowly since Brazilian wandering spiders are aggressive and very poisonous. To learn how to avoid getting bitten by a Brazilian wandering spider, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Brazilian Wandering Spider

Brazilian Wandering Spider

Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts

  • Most notably, the common name of Brazilian Wandering Spider actually applies to a total of eight species within one genus.
  • While all of the varieties in the genus inhabit the country of Brazil, hence the name, many also inhabit other parts of the region as well.
  • Each species varies from the others in some ways, of course. However, all of them remain extremely poisonous and highly aggressive.
  • Due to this combination of powerful venom and extremely aggressive behavior, most experts consider this genus to comprise the deadliest spiders.
  • However, its aggressiveness remains a defensive technique, and the arachnid typically only bites if the individual feels directly threatened.

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Brazilian Wandering Spider Physical Description

Most notably, given the fact that the term Brazilian Wandering Spider applies to a total of eight species, physical characteristics naturally vary.

However, certain factors remain true for all varieties. Firstly, sexual dimorphism occurs in all members of the genus, just like most arachnids.

In addition, while coloring does vary, the majority of species remain primarily brown, with a black spot or spots on the underside of the body.

Also, most members of this genus grow large, with bodies reaching a length of 2 in (5 cm), and a leg span totaling as much as 6 in (15 cm).

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

Brazilian Wandering Spider

Brazilian Wandering Spider Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology

Most notably, most species known as the Brazilian Wandering Spider occur in South America . However, one species does inhabit Central America.

Also, and not surprisingly at all, given the name, the habitats of seven of the eight species comprising the genus include the country of Brazil .

The native habitats of the various members of the genus include temperate forests, tropical jungle, and, for some, regions of savanna.

The distinct name occurs due to the tendency of these invertebrates, unlike most spiders, to roam around at night in search of prey, rather than spin webs or lay in wait.

Furthermore, individuals tend to spend the majority of the daytime hiding in crevices, or under fallen trees, then emerging at night to hunt.

Finally, the typical prey varies by region and species, but most commonly ranges from various insects to small animals, such as frogs and lizards.

Species Sharing Its Range

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  • Spider Facts

7 Facts About The Brazilian Wandering Spider

7 Facts About The Brazilian Wandering Spider Living in Florida has its perks—sunshine, beautiful beaches, and a tropical atmosphere. However, it also comes with its fair share of surprises. Recently, I had an unexpected visitor in my home that sent shivers down my spine—a Brazilian Wandering Spider. As I navigated through this unnerving encounter, I delved into understanding this intriguing arachnid and unearthed seven fascinating facts about the Brazilian Wandering Spider. Unexpected Visitor: Imagine my surprise when, living in sunny Florida, I found myself face to face with a Brazilian Wandering Spider. This eight-legged visitor wasn't your typical household spider—it was a creature straight out of a wildlife documentary. With a leg span that seemed to stretch for miles and those unmistakable red fangs, it was a sight that sent shivers down my spine. Intimidating Fangs: The first thing that caught my eye were those red chelicerae, poised and ready for action on its abdomen. It was like a warning sign that I had an unwelcome guest in my home. I couldn't help but marvel at the sheer size and agility of this arachnid as it gracefully moved along the walls of my living room. Venomous Trepidation: As I observed from a safe distance, the realization hit me—the Brazilian Wandering Spider is known for its venomous bite. The mere thought of those potent neurotoxins coursing through my veins was enough to send a chill down my spine. I quickly decided that this was not a creature to be dealt with lightly. No Webs, Just Wanderers: Unlike the common house spiders that spin intricate webs in corners, this spider was a wanderer. True to its name, the Brazilian Wandering Spider doesn't bother with the whole web-building routine. Instead, it actively roams around, and that's probably how it ended up in my living room in the first place. Aggressive Standoff: As I mustered the courage to guide it out of the house, I was met with an unexpected display of aggression. The spider raised its front legs, showcasing those fearsome fangs, and warned me not to underestimate its capabilities. It was a standoff between a curious human and a defensive arachnid. Out-of-Place in Florida: Living in Florida, encountering exotic wildlife isn't unheard of, but a Brazilian Wandering Spider was certainly unexpected. These creatures are native to the rainforests of South America, so how did one end up in my Sunshine State abode? The mystery behind their presence outside their natural habitat adds an extra layer of intrigue to the encounter. Maternal Instincts: As I cautiously observed the spider, I couldn't help but wonder about its life cycle. Learning that the females exhibit maternal care by creating silk sacs to protect their eggs was both surprising and fascinating. It added a touch of complexity to this creature that, moments ago, I saw as nothing more than a potential threat. My Personal Encounter It was a typical evening in my Florida home when I stumbled upon this eight-legged visitor. Startled, I cautiously observed its intricate movements as it traversed the walls of my living room. The distinctive red fangs immediately caught my attention, triggering a mix of fascination and concern. Unsure of how to handle the situation, I decided to document the encounter and seek professional assistance. Aggressive Defensive Posture When confronted, the Brazilian Wandering Spider doesn't shy away from displaying its aggressive defensive posture. My attempt to gently guide it out of the house was met with an intimidating display—raised front legs, exposing those red fangs, and a readiness to strike if I posed a threat. It was a reminder of the potential danger these spiders pose and the importance of handling them with care. Reproduction and Maternal Care One surprising fact about the Brazilian Wandering Spider is its unique approach to reproduction. The female constructs a silk sac to protect her eggs and carries it with her. Unlike many spider species, the mother doesn't abandon her eggs but actively guards and cares for them. Witnessing this maternal instinct adds a layer of complexity to the creature that goes beyond its fearsome reputation. Importance of Professional Assistance Given the potential dangers associated with the Brazilian Wandering Spider, seeking professional assistance is crucial when encountering one in your home. I promptly contacted local pest control services that specialize in handling venomous spiders. Their expertise ensured the spider was safely removed without posing a threat to me or my household. Conclusion Encountering a Brazilian Wandering Spider in my Florida home was undoubtedly an unexpected and nerve-wracking experience. However, it opened the door to a deeper understanding of these fascinating arachnids. From their distinctive appearance to the potent venom they carry, the Brazilian Wandering Spider remains a creature worthy of both caution and appreciation. As I bid farewell to my unexpected guest, I couldn't help but marvel at the intricate world of nature that often finds its way into our daily lives, even in the most unexpected places.

Living in Florida has its perks—sunshine, beautiful beaches, and a tropical atmosphere. However, it also comes with its fair share of surprises. Recently, I had an unexpected visitor in my home that sent shivers down my spine—a Brazilian Wandering Spider. As I navigated through this unnerving encounter, I delved into understanding this intriguing arachnid and unearthed seven fascinating facts about the Brazilian Wandering Spider.

Table of Contents

Unexpected Visitor:

Imagine my surprise when, living in sunny Florida, I found myself face to face with a Brazilian Wandering Spider. This eight-legged visitor wasn’t your typical household spider—it was a creature straight out of a wildlife documentary. With a leg span that seemed to stretch for miles and those unmistakable red fangs, it was a sight that sent shivers down my spine.

Intimidating Fangs:

The first thing that caught my eye were those red chelicerae, poised and ready for action on its abdomen. It was like a warning sign that I had an unwelcome guest in my home. I couldn’t help but marvel at the sheer size and agility of this arachnid as it gracefully moved along the walls of my living room.

Venomous Trepidation:

As I observed from a safe distance, the realization hit me—the Brazilian Wandering Spider is known for its venomous bite. The mere thought of those potent neurotoxins coursing through my veins was enough to send a chill down my spine. I quickly decided that this was not a creature to be dealt with lightly.

No Webs, Just Wanderers:

Unlike the common house spiders that spin intricate webs in corners, this spider was a wanderer. True to its name, the Brazilian Wandering Spider doesn’t bother with the whole web-building routine. Instead, it actively roams around, and that’s probably how it ended up in my living room in the first place.

Aggressive Standoff:

As I mustered the courage to guide it out of the house, I was met with an unexpected display of aggression. The spider raised its front legs, showcasing those fearsome fangs, and warned me not to underestimate its capabilities. It was a standoff between a curious human and a defensive arachnid.

Out-of-Place in Florida:

Living in Florida, encountering exotic wildlife isn’t unheard of, but a Brazilian Wandering Spider was certainly unexpected. These creatures are native to the rainforests of South America, so how did one end up in my Sunshine State abode? The mystery behind their presence outside their natural habitat adds an extra layer of intrigue to the encounter.

Maternal Instincts:

As I cautiously observed the spider, I couldn’t help but wonder about its life cycle. Learning that the females exhibit maternal care by creating silk sacs to protect their eggs was both surprising and fascinating. It added a touch of complexity to this creature that, moments ago, I saw as nothing more than a potential threat.

My Personal Encounter

It was a typical evening in my Florida home when I stumbled upon this eight-legged visitor. Startled, I cautiously observed its intricate movements as it traversed the walls of my living room. The distinctive red fangs immediately caught my attention, triggering a mix of fascination and concern. Unsure of how to handle the situation, I decided to document the encounter and seek professional assistance.

Aggressive Defensive Posture

When confronted, the Brazilian Wandering Spider doesn’t shy away from displaying its aggressive defensive posture. My attempt to gently guide it out of the house was met with an intimidating display—raised front legs, exposing those red fangs, and a readiness to strike if I posed a threat. It was a reminder of the potential danger these spiders pose and the importance of handling them with care.

Reproduction and Maternal Care

One surprising fact about the Brazilian Wandering Spider is its unique approach to reproduction. The female constructs a silk sac to protect her eggs and carries it with her. Unlike many spider species, the mother doesn’t abandon her eggs but actively guards and cares for them. Witnessing this maternal instinct adds a layer of complexity to the creature that goes beyond its fearsome reputation.

Importance of Professional Assistance

Given the potential dangers associated with the Brazilian Wandering Spider, seeking professional assistance is crucial when encountering one in your home. I promptly contacted local pest control services that specialize in handling venomous spiders. Their expertise ensured the spider was safely removed without posing a threat to me or my household.

Encountering a Brazilian Wandering Spider in my Florida home was undoubtedly an unexpected and nerve-wracking experience. However, it opened the door to a deeper understanding of these fascinating arachnids. From their distinctive appearance to the potent venom they carry, the Brazilian Wandering Spider remains a creature worthy of both caution and appreciation. As I bid farewell to my unexpected guest, I couldn’t help but marvel at the intricate world of nature that often finds its way into our daily lives, even in the most unexpected places.

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Spider Facts and Information

Brazilian Wandering Spider

Brazilian Wandering Spider

Brazilian Wandering Spider – Genus Phoneutria

Introduction.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is one that is very interesting to learn about. They are in the record books as the Spider with the deadliest venom in the world. There are 8 known species of this particular Spider.

Description

The leg span of this particular Spider can be up to 6 inches. They can be about 2 inches in diameter around the abdomen. They have a body position that is very different. They lift the front two legs up so that they are able to sway from side to side.

Distribution

They are found all over the jungle floors and that is where their names come from. During the day though they hide under rocks and in crevices. Thy love places that are dark and moist. They live in the forests of Costa Rica, in Columbia, Peru, Brazil, and Paraguay. They are found all over these regions so it is very hard to count the number or them.

They seem to do very well in places where humans have undisturbed items. This can be clothing they don’t wear often, piles of wood, items stored in the closet or the garage, and much more. This is why humans in areas where they are known to live have to be very careful.

Sometimes they are found in crates of bananas and they are shipped all over the world. This is why many shipments have to be closely watched. People that unload them should be well aware of the fact that bananas are a common hiding place for this very venomous and dangerous type of Spider.

Brazilian wandering spider or Armed spiders

Brazilian wandering spider – Genus Phoneutria / Photo taken by Techuser

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is one of the most aggressive types of Spiders. They will fight each other over territory if there are too many in one area. They don’t seem to do well in captivity either due to the stress it causes them. They may stop eating in such a predicament.

The males are also known to become very aggressive with each other during the mating season. They want to have every chance of being able to successfully mate with a given female. They may harm each other to get to her and keep another out of the way.

Diet /Feeding

Even though they are fairly large they stick to prey that is quite small. The struggle to be able to inject enough venom in larger prey to make them able to successfully kill it. However, it only going to take a small amount of it for the smaller sized prey.

Reproduction

A female may turn away many males before she selects one that she will agree to mate with. Once mating is complete the male needs to run or the female will consume him. She controls when she will use the sperm from the male to fertilize her eggs. This can be right away or she can wait for a period of up to a year. She will then focus all her attention the eggs. She creates a sack for them make out of the silk her body produces.

Venomous Bite /Danger to Humans

Being the most dangerous Spider of all isn’t something that many are fond of. This is why they are so afraid of this type of Spider. Many people trap and kill them because they don’t want to take a risk.

PhTx3 is found in the venom of the Brazilian Wandering Spider. This is very dangerous for the body due to the loss of muscle control. It can result in a person becoming paralyzed. Breathing problems can occur as well due to the inflammation of the throat and the lungs. Once this venom mixes with serotonin there is going to be pain that is very severe in nature.

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Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts: What Happens If It Bites You?

Brazilian wandering spiders belong to the genus Phoneutria  and are represented by eight spider species that are native to Central America and South America. This spider group is also collectively known as armed spiders and banana spiders. In Brazil, they are locally known as "aranha armadeira" which means armed spider. With these, some people often wonder if a person can survive after being by a member or species of this group.

What is a Brazilian Wandering Spider?

Brazilian Wandering Spider

The genus Phoneutria , which the Brazilian wandering spider  and related spider species belong to, was first described in 1833 when two species was included on it. The following century saw various scientists to move the Phoneutria species between genera Phoneutria  and Ctenus . In 1936, Mello-Leitao restored Phoneutria  and currently contains eight species, as reported by the University of Florida.

Banana spiders, a name given to the arachnid group due to their frequent presence on banana leaves, are large and robust arachnids in the family Ctenidae .   They resemble the morphological appearance of wolf spiders. In addition, their body length can grow ranging from 17 and 48 millimeters and their leg span can reach 180 millimeters. Their distinct color ranges from light brown, brown, or grey. Furthermore, the natural habitats of armed spiders are forests.

Also Read:   Deadly Erection-Giving Spider Crawls Out of Banana In Bristol

What Happens If It Bites You?

The natural prey of Brazilian wandering spiders includes small animals like crickets, mantids, and katydids, and larger ones like bats, frogs, and lizards. However, they can still bite humans and other animals not native in their habitats. In the past, scientists have identified that the bite of banana spiders living in Central and South American rain forests can lead to shortness of breath and excessive salivation.

According to wildlife experts, a Brazilian wandering spider bite can also lead to other serious symptoms, including increased blood pressure, above-normal pulse, and unusual respiratory rate, as well as extreme pain, hours-long penile erection, and death, in some cases. These spiders inject neurotoxin venom to its bitten victim and can be deadly to humans, particularly for children. However, it is not the world's deadliest spider.

Venomous Spider

In a study published in the journal Frontiers  in February 2023, researchers stated that the Brazilian wandering spider is amongst the world's most dangerous venomous spiders in the world. In Brazil, there have been an estimated 4,000 envenomation accidents of Phoneutria nigriventer  spider species each year in Brazil. Additional symptoms were also observed, including blurred vision, priapism, and vomiting.

The armed spider only follows the world's most venomous spider, which according to the Guinness World Records , is the Sydney funnel-web spider ( Atrax robustus ).

Like the Brazilian wandering spider, the venom of A. robustus  can be neutralized by anti-venoms but some cases still lead to deaths when these arachnids bite a human, who did not receive any medical attention. Experts also weigh that the mortality of venom depends on the amount that enters a human body.

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Tags Brazilian wandering spider , banana spider , Spider , spider bite , animals , Wild Animals

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  5. Brazilian Wandering Spider

    brazilian wandering spider habitat

  6. Brazilian Wandering Spider Photograph by Francesco Tomasinelli

    brazilian wandering spider habitat

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  6. A beautiful Wandering Spider in the jungle of Costa Rica

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  1. Brazilian Wandering Spider

    Learn about the Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria fera), an aggressive and highly venomous spider that wanders the jungle floor. Find out its characteristics, diet, reproduction, venom and more.

  2. Brazilian wandering spiders: Bites & other facts

    Bites and venom Additional resources The Brazilian wandering spider, also called armed spiders or banana spiders, belongs to the genus Phoneutria, which means "murderess" in Greek. And...

  3. Phoneutria

    . They are mainly found in northern South America, with one species in Central America. [2] Members of the genus are commonly referred to as Brazilian wandering spiders [3] Brazilian Portuguese (a name shared with The spiders in the genus can grow to have a leg span of 13 to 18 cm (5 to 7 in). Their body length ranges from 17 to 48 mm ( ⁄⁄ in).

  4. Brazilian Wandering Spider: Care, Food, Habitat & Preventions

    They usually hang out in tropical rainforests and even in cities, hiding in banana plants. So, let's get more information about the world of this sneaky spider to learn the details about its looks, eating habits, where it lives, the venom it carries, and find out if it is genuinely risky. Ready to explore? Keep reading!

  5. Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts

    1. Armed Spiders In Brazilian, these are sometimes known as armed spiders, on account of their elongated front legs. They can convey quite a bit of information with these legs, and as wandering spiders, use them to get about the forest, looking for food. 2. Banana Spiders

  6. Wandering spider

    wandering spider, (family Ctenidae), any member of the family Ctenidae (order Araneida), a small group of large spiders of mainly tropical and subtropical regions, commonly found on foliage and on the ground. Their first two legs are armed with strong bristles on the lower side.

  7. Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria): Bite, Attacks And Other Facts

    The term 'Brazilian wandering spider' actually refers to not just one spider, but a number of extremely venomous spider species found primarily in South (especially Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Suriname, Peru and Guyana) and Central America. They belong to the genus Phoneutria, which is a family of venomous spiders in the family Ctenidae.

  8. Wandering spider

    These spiders have a distinctive longitudinal groove on the top-rear of their oval carapace similar to those of the Amaurobiidae. [1] They are highly defensive [2] and venomous nocturnal hunters. Wandering spiders are known to hunt large prey, for example hylid species Dendropsophus branneri. [3]

  9. Brazilian Wandering Spider: Size, Bite, Diet and other Facts

    Size and weight. Brazilian Wandering Spiders are among the largest arachnids in the world. Adult females can have a leg span of up to 6 inches (15 cm), while males are typically smaller, with a leg span ranging from 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm).

  10. Brazilian Wandering Spiders (Phoneutria): Facts ,Identifications & Pictures

    Genus: Phoneutria List of Spiders Belonging to This Genus Physical Description and Identification Adults Size: They are large in size, with their body being 17- 48mm (.67 - 1.89 inches) long and they also have a leg span of 130 - 150 mm (5.1-5.9 inches).

  11. Brazilian Wandering Spider- P. fera

    Brazilian Wandering Spider- P. fera Habitat The geuns Phoneutria is found in southern Central America, and down throughout most of South America including east of the Andes and down into Argentina. Specifically P. fera is restricted to the Brazilian rainforest area, as well as the more urban areas of Brazil but also up into northern South America.

  12. Brazilian Wandering Spider facts

    Quick Facts To kick things off, here are some fascinating factoids about the Brazilian Wandering Spider: They belong to the genus 'Phoneutria', which translates to 'murderess' in Greek. They are known for their highly potent venom. Wandering Spiders are nocturnal creatures.

  13. Brazilian wandering spider Facts for Kids

    They are mainly found in northern South America, with one species in Central America. Members of the genus are commonly referred to as Brazilian wandering spiders. Other English names include armed spiders ( armadeiras in Brazilian Portuguese) and banana spiders (a name shared with several others). Contents Description Taxonomy Species Behaviour

  14. Discover Brazilian Wandering Spider: Lifecycle, Diet, Facts, and More

    Fascinating Facts about Brazilian Wandering Spider. Here are 3 interesting facts about Brazilian Wandering Spider: The Brazilian Wandering Spider is considered the world's most venomous spider by the Guinness World Records. They are known as 'wandering' spiders because they roam the jungle floor at night instead of residing in a lair or web.

  15. 17 Surprising Facts About Brazilian Wandering Spider

    Biology Source: Livescience.com The Brazilian Wandering Spider, also known as the banana spider, is a fascinating and enigmatic creature that hails from the tropical forests of South America. With its vibrant colors, impressive size, and potent venom, this spider has earned a notorious reputation as one of the most dangerous arachnids in the world.

  16. Wandering Spider: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell

    October 13, 2023. Wandering spiders are a group of venomous arachnids found primarily in South America. Among these, the Brazilian wandering spider is particularly known for its potent venom and unique behavior. They are often referred to as "banana spiders" due to their frequent encounters with humans in banana plantations.

  17. Brazilian Wandering Spider

    B. Camouflage and Defense Mechanisms. The Brazilian Wandering Spider's appearance is a masterpiece of evolution, meticulously crafted to ensure both survival and predation.. Its coloration and markings are tailor-made for blending seamlessly into its surroundings, granting it a potent advantage in ambushing prey and evading predators.Moreover, these markings also play a role in its defense ...

  18. Top 10 Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts

    Only one species can be found in Central America Even though this particular genus is referred to as the " Brazilian wandering spider ," they can be found in multiple countries in South America. Here's an overview of the 8 different species of Brazilian wandering spiders and the location they can be found in: Phoneutria bahiensis - Brazil

  19. 4 Ways to Identify a Brazilian Wandering Spider

    Article Summary Co-authored by wikiHow Staff Last Updated: February 12, 2021 Approved The Brazilian wandering spider is a large, hairy spider that lives in South and Central America. It's considered the most venomous spider in the world.

  20. Brazilian Wandering Spider

    Learn about the eight species of Brazilian Wandering Spider, the deadliest spiders in the world, that live in South America and Central America. Find out their physical characteristics, distribution, habitat, and ecology. See photos and facts of this venomous arachnid.

  21. 7 Facts About The Brazilian Wandering Spider

    Living in Florida has its perks—sunshine, beautiful beaches, and a tropical atmosphere. However, it also comes with its fair share of surprises. Recently, I

  22. Brazilian Wandering Spider

    They live in the forests of Costa Rica, in Columbia, Peru, Brazil, and Paraguay. They are found all over these regions so it is very hard to count the number or them. They seem to do very well in places where humans have undisturbed items.

  23. Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts: What Happens If It Bites You?

    What Happens If It Bites You? The natural prey of Brazilian wandering spiders includes small animals like crickets, mantids, and katydids, and larger ones like bats, frogs, and lizards....