Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tegenaria domestica

On 29.11.2014 the phone rang. The voice on the other end said: "We have a spider. It's huge. We don't know what it is. We don't know how venomous it is. Do you want it?"

I quickly said yes before finding out anything more about the creature. But then, just in case it was a Phoneutria fera or something else aggressive and deadly I asked a few more questions. The spider had been taken to the pet shop by an importer of foodstuffs who had found the creature among his produce. Being a thoroughly nice chap he hadn't killed it but had captured it instead. I decided to go and take a look for myself.

She was pretty! But she was certainly not "huge"! She was tiny (c.1cm body size) and - I'm not repeating myself am I? - very, very pretty. I decided to adopt her. Instead of being an exotic import among bananas - no, one generally does not need to fear that Brazilian wandering spiders will arrive here among bananas - it was a common local species, Tegenaria domestica. This species has several common names, common house spider and barn funnel weaver and several more. It is widespread in both Europe and N. America. Its venom is not at all potent for humans, but it is a very quick and relatively large species compared to other local ones so some people are frightened of it.

But despite fear mongering from the Daily Fail and the film industry, spiders should not be feared. Except for Phoneutria fera and a few other individual species. And this is why I found the whole situation slightly comic: huge fuss and drama about an "exotic" and "huge" spider that is actually tiny, local and harmless. But on the plus side I did acquire a new pet today.

Mature female; LS c.4cm

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Brachypelma smithi

Brachypelma smithi

Last moult 18.8.2014

LS c.6cm

Bumba pulcherrimaklaasi

Bumba pulcherrimaklaasi

Last moult 26.11.2014

LS c.10cm. Suspected mature male.

Xenesthis sp. blue

Xenesthis sp. blue

Last moult 31.10.2014

LS c.3cm