Giant Huntsman Spider
The Giant Huntsman Spider (Heteropoda maxima) is a species of arachnid that was first discovered in northern Laos in 2001. Since then, over a thousand new specimens have been found in the Greater Mekong Subregion. It is believed that this spider lives in or near cave openings because of its pale color, long legs, and special hairs found on the second foot of the male. A representative for the World Wide Fund for Nature noted that “Some of these species really have no business being recently discovered,” suggesting that it is strange that a species this large could go undiscovered for so long.
This is the largest spider of the genus Heteropoda. It is also the largest spider in the family Sparassidae. It has a body-length of 1.8 inches and a leg-span of 12 inches. The scientific name maxima, is derived from maximus, meaning “the largest”. It is yellowish-brown in color with several irregularly distributed dark spots on the rear half. The legs have wide dark bands above the first bend. Like all huntsman spiders, the legs are long compared to the body, and twist forward in a crab-like style. Besides size, this species can be distinguished from other members of Heteropoda by genital characteristics.