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Wednesday, December 12, 2007


The Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria spp.) or Armadeira (as it is known in Portuguese) is an aggressive and highly venomous spider named as such because it was first discovered in Pantanal, Brazil though this genus is known to exist elsewhere in South and Central America. This 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 the most venomous animal.

These spiders are notorious both due to their toxic venom, and because they are not reluctant to attack people who appear threatening. Bites from these spiders may result in only a couple of painful pinpricks to full-blown envenomation. In either case, people bitten by a Phoneutria or any Ctenid should seek immediate emergency treatment as the venom is possibly life threatening. The Phoneutria fera and nigriventer are the two most commonly implicated as the most virulent of the Phoneutria spiders. The Phoneutria not only has a potent neurotoxin, but is reported to have one of the most excruciatingly painful envenomations of all spiders due to its high concentration of serotonin.

The wandering spider is so-called because it wanders the jungle floor, rather than residing in a lair or maintaining a web. This attribute is another reason it is considered so dangerous. In densely populated areas, Phoneutria species usually search for cover and dark places to hide during daytime, leading it to hide within houses, clothes, cars, boots, boxes and log piles; thus generating accidents when people disturb it. Regionally in the Mid-Atlantic US, this spider is sometimes known as the "Jerry's blue-fanged spider" because of the blue hair covering its lethal fangs. Its other common name - the "banana spider" - as attributed because it is occasionally found as a 'stowaway' within shipments of bananas.

I have encountered a lot of huge banana spiders too here in our garden since we have banana trees around. Perhaps those are similar species.

Picture and Information courtesy of

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