Flat Huntsman Spider

The Flat Huntsman Spider (Delena cancerides) is a species of arachnid that is native to Australia. In New Zealand, where it was accidentally introduced in the early 1920s, this species is known as the Avondale Spider. It is commonly found under loose bark and in woodpiles in colonies of up to 300 individuals. The range of this species in New Zealand has only expanded slowly out of Avondale (a suburb of Waitakere City near Auckland). Species have been found as far down the country as the Otago region. This species is also found in Tasmania and in its native Australia, it is more common in South Australia.

The adult can be up to 1.2 inches long. It is light brown and covered in dense, fine hairs. The legs are also hairy and can span up to 8 inches in females. Large specimens are not uncommon. It is non-venomous to humans, and is rarely seen indoors. This spider also hunts for its food rather than spin webs for it.

The Flat Huntsman Spider has had some celebrity status. The 1990 movie “Arachnophobia” used 374 spiders. This species also makes a brief appearance at the beginning of the 2002 movie “Spiderman”. In an episode of “Xena: Warrior Princess” a Flat Huntsman Spider is used when Xena awakens with it on her face.

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