New species of terrifying giant spider discovered in Mexican cave (PHOTOS)
But don’t panic – the cave-dweller discovered in the Baja California region is relatively harmless to humans.
"In all my experience over the years collecting spiders on the peninsula, I had never seen a spider this large," Maria Luisa Jimenez, a spider expert and researcher at the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste, Mexico said in a statement, as cited by Live Science.
The Sierra Cacachilas chases its prey down in the dark, a scary prospect for any spelunkers planning a trip to Mexico.
Researchers at the Museum, along with expert entomologists from Mexico and Brazil, have discovered a new species and genus of spider in Baja California Sur—it's called the Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider (Califorctenus cacachilensis) and is of the large cave-dwelling variety. A paper on the find was published this month in Zootaxa, an international peer-reviewed journal. This is a tremendous milestone for all the researchers involved in the study. #Entomology #NaturalHistory #NewSpecies #Spiders #theNAT #Baja #BajaCaliforniaSur #Mexico #InternationalResearch
The dark brown spider’s eight eyes are arranged in three rows with two on top and two parallel rows of three below, a well-known feature of the Ctenidae family of arachnids. While it appears that the spider has two large, crimson fangs, these are merely imitations known as condyles.
The spiders also have a signature, dirty yellow opistosomas (a spider’s equivalent of a butt). Of the specimens studied so far, the arachnid’s body length can reach up to an inch (27mm) while the entire span of the spider is about the size of a softball (3.82 inches) or roughly 1.5 times the size of the average tennis ball.
While its Brazilian cousin (Phoneutria fera) allegedly induces painful, hours-long erections in humans, the Mexican spider is harmless to us.
Brazilian wandering spider
Adult female Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria fera). Widely regarded as one of the most toxic spiders on the planet, a rare chance to get some pics of this spider on bare skin. Whilst watching her moult the anchor line broke. I assisted her out of her old skin, and while still freshly moulted and soft, took these shots. The only time I would ever put an adult like this on my hand!
"I got bit while handling a live specimen of Califorctenus cacachilensis and I'm still alive," Jim Berrian, a field entomologist at the San Diego Natural History Museum said in a statement.
"We haven't analyzed the toxicity of the venom...most wandering spiders are not as dangerous as the Brazilian wandering spider,” Berrian added.