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 – has written 5489 posts on this site.
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