Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 8th, 2007
Martin Nicholas, a water treatment plant salesman, who has a passion for searching for giant spiders, may have discovered a new species, the “Chicken-Eating Tarantula” (shown above).
Nicolas found that the mother spider of this new species was about 10 inches across. This compares well with the record spider, which is 11.8 inches, for the Goliath spider of Venezuela.
Martin Nicholas’ interview in Nature gives insights into how he heard about and tracked down this possible new species:
It started a few years back with a letter from a friend in Peru who built power plants. He heard this story of a chicken-eating spider. I love those kinds of stories, they are irresistible. So I had to go to Peru and see if it was true….
Seeing the big mama tarantula with the young [through the use of a spider cam in a burrow] was remarkable. Most tarantulas are in no way gregarious. In fact, they often cannibalize their own young. So seeing that was very unusual. But it may make sense. It looks like when they go out at night as a group, they can catch and kill larger prey by working together. We also discovered that those spiders appeared to be keeping a pet. There was a little frog that lived down in the hole with the spiders. It may offer some sort of service to spiders, like sweeping up ants that might bother the spiders.
We don’t know yet [if the chicken-eating spider is a new species]. I would like to get it properly identified. There are two or three other large black tarantulas that live in the area.Martin Nicholas in Nature, “Giant Chicken-Eating Spider Discovered – Deep Jungles: Monsters of the Forest,” May 8, 2007
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.