Giant Spider Species Emerges from the Depths of Mexican Caves
Spiders, those creatures that can evoke both awe and dread in equal measure, have added a new entry to their fascinating catalog – the Brazilian wandering spider. With its spindly legs stretching up to a daunting 15 centimeters (5.9 inches), this arachnid not only has the power to inflict lasting nerve damage and potentially death upon its unfortunate victims but also an unusual side effect: a persistent and rather uncomfortable male erection.
Typically, this genus of spider is native to select parts of South America. However, a recent revelation published in the journal Zootaxa has brought to light a novel variant of this formidable beastie, lurking amidst the damp confines of Mexico’s caves and long-forgotten mine shafts. Abandon hope, all who dare enter.
Brazilian wandering spiders are renowned for their nocturnal habits, and the newly discovered species, Califorctenus cacachilensis, also known as the Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider, follows suit. This characteristic meant that researchers had to embark on the challenging task of nocturnal spider hunting, all while hoping to avoid a venomous bite. Unfortunately, their plan didn’t unfold without incident.
“I got bit while handling a live specimen of Califorctenus cacachilensis, and I’m still alive,” remarked co-author Jim Berrian, a field entomologist at the San Diego Natural History Museum (SDNHM). “We haven’t analyzed the toxicity of the venom, but most wandering spiders are not as dangerous as the Brazilian wandering spider.”
So, while the image of these spiders descending from a cave’s ceiling and venturing down your shirt may be nothing short of unsettling, there’s a silver lining – no matter how many times you encounter these exotic creatures nibbling at your exposed skin, you’re likely to emerge unscathed.
The first hint of this spider’s existence emerged back in 2013 when a discarded exoskeleton was discovered clinging to a rocky overhang in the Baja Peninsula. Soon after, living specimens were encountered, measuring around 10 centimeters (4 inches) in length, primarily comprised of their menacing, elongated legs.
Unsettlingly, these newfound spiders forgo web-spinning in favor of a more direct approach – they actively chase their prey under the cover of night and swiftly pounce on their unsuspecting victims. Their potent venom, delivered through their diminutive red “fangs,” is more than sufficient to incapacitate anything no larger than a rat within moments.
Researchers from the SDNHM, in collaboration with experts from Mexico and Brazil, have determined that this newly discovered spider is by far the largest of its kind in the region.
“In all my experience over the years collecting spiders on the peninsula, I had never seen a spider this large,” noted Dr. Maria Luisa Jimenez, an arachnid specialist from the Northwest Center for Biological Investigations.
So there you have it, dear readers – your daily dose of spine-tingling intrigue from the world of arachnids.