A-z - Animals

hunter spider

This post may contain affiliate links to our partners such as Chewy, Amazon, etc. These purchases help us further AZ Animals' mission of educating the world's species.

See all Huntsman Spider pictures!

© AZ-Animals.com

The spider with the largest leg span in the world.

Huntsman spiders belong to the Sparassidae family, named for their efficient and deadly hunters.

As of 2021, there are 96 genera and 1383 species. They are usually large, hairy spiders with crab-like legs, which have given them the nickname giant crab spiders. Most are gray or brown, but they may have bands and markings on their legs and body.

They have eight eyes and have fairly good eyesight. Like other spiders, they are venomous rather than venomous, and some are capable of inflicting painful bites on humans.

But like other spiders, their venom evolved to subdue their regular prey. Some people welcome hunter spiders into their homes because they eat pests such as cockroaches.

4 Incredible Huntsman Spider Facts!

Hunter spider in the rainforest
The eggs and young of the female hunting spiders are carefully guarded by them.

©Pong Wira/Shutterstock.com

  • Hunter spiders are surprisingly gentle during courtship. Males in many species tap the ground with their bellies or legs to produce vibrations that interest females, who lure them with pheromones.
  • Female hunting spiders are fiercely protective of their eggs and young. They put the egg in a sac or purse made of silk and either guard it or put it in their mouth. When the eggs hatch, she protects the spiderlings until they molt multiple times. This can take several weeks, during which time the female spider will not be eating.
  • Some hunter spiders are solitary, while others live happily in large groups.
  • Although hunter spiders don't weave webs, when they molt or lay eggs, they weave a sort of cocoon out of silk.

evolution and origin

Largest Spider: Giant Hunter Spider
The world's largest spider, the giant hunter spider, is not harmless to humans but will bite if provoked.


The hunter spider's origins can be traced back to Asia, where its closest relatives can be found. Still, it is theorized that the spider arrived in the United States via bananas shipped from Central America.

Huntsman spiders are found in many states and territories of Australia so encountering them is quite possible. They often appear on walls and ceilings indoors during warm weather or during rainfall.

Read more  Meet These 10 Incredible Mountain Dog Breeds

Sparassidae , formerly known as Heteropodidae, make up the family of spiders generally considered to be hunter spiders. This is due to their agility and hunting style. Additionally, their size and physical features have earned them the name giant crab spiders.

Different types

david bowie hunter spider
There are 17 different types of hunter spiders.

©Alen Thien/Shutterstock.com

Different types of hunter wingers:

  • giant hunter spider
  • hunter spider
  • green microalgae
  • Heteropoda
  • Oreos
  • jaguar
  • catfish
  • wheel spider
  • Delena
  • Heteropoda
  • Arabian white horse
  • Escherichia coli
  • Mylabris
  • Almond Swallowtail
  • Cucurbita
  • Pseudopoda
  • Paeonia

Species, Types and Scientific Names of Hunter Spiders

teen hunter spider
The family Sparassidae, divided into genera and species groups, is the taxonomy of hunter spiders.

© Wright There/Shutterstock.com

The classification of hunter spiders places them in the family Sparassidae, which is divided into genera and species.

There are nearly a hundred genera and more than 1,300 species of giant crab spiders. Incidentally, the Arabidopsis family is not closely related to proper crab spiders that are members of the Thomisidae family.

These genera include:

  • Carparachne : This genus contains the fascinating cartwheel spider, Cebrennus rechenbergi. This spider actually evades threats by flipping on its side, and it's the only one known to do so. It is found in Morocco and is also known as the Moroccan backbending spider. A robot was actually built to mimic the movements of this spider.
  • Diminutella: As the name suggests, this is the smallest of these giant spiders. The female Diminutella cortina is only 0.14 to 0.17 inches long. It is found in Cuba and is the only species in its genus.
  • Heteropoda: Taxonomy Heteropoda is a large genus that contains the brown hunter Heteropoda cervina. The genus got its name because the giant arthropod's unequal legs allowed the spider to escape sideways and change direction quickly. The brown hunter is known for living in homes in Queensland, Australia, but it's a timid spider that only bites when threatened.
  • Leucorchestris: This classification contains the dancing white lady Leucorchestris arenicola of the Namibian desert. Spiders communicate with each other by tapping with their front legs. The way it drums has to be precise because another spider could mistake its vibrations for prey and kill the spider trying to communicate with it. The dancing white lady can also use eight eyes alone, giving it a panoramic view.
  • Micrommata : Spiders in this genus differ from other hunter spiders in that many of them are bright green. This includes Micrommata virescens, a hunter that lives in the Nordic forests.
Read more  Silkie Hen vs Rooster: What's the Difference?


Pantropical hunting spider grows nearly 12 centimeters with straight legs

© Jeevan Jose, Kerala, India. Jee & Rani Nature/Creative Commons – License

It's easy to say that to identify a hunter spider, all one needs to see is a giant spider that hugs its legs like a crab. However, some species of hunter spiders are not much larger than common crab spiders, and brown recluses are also quite large and have a Cancerian stance.

Crab spiders are also known as flower spiders because they perch on flowers and ambush the glowing insects on the flowers. They can slowly change color to blend in with the flower, but hunter spiders cannot do that.

Most are shades of brown or gray, although some species in the genus Micrommata are leaf green. Hunter spiders also tend to be furry, and despite their size, they can easily hide in tight spaces. This is because their bodies tend to be flat and they have those unique foldable legs. They are ambush predators and also move surprisingly fast for their size.


Hunter spider, giant crab spider or sugarcane spider, Heteropoda venatoria (Sparassidae)
Hunter spider, giant crab spider or sugarcane spider, Heteropoda venatoria (Sparassidae) on flower.


Hunter spiders can be found all over the world except in the coldest regions of the planet. They hide in less-visited places such as garages, barns and garden sheds. Some hid behind blinds and curtains, scaring away anyone who came to adjust them. Huntsman spiders will also hide in cars and scare anyone trying to adjust their rearview mirrors. In the wild, they are found under the bark of trees and under rocks. This gave them the name "wood spiders".


Hunter spiders typically eat small arthropods. They range from butterflies to cockroaches and even scorpions. Some species eat other spiders and are indeed cannibalistic. Some hunter spiders are large enough to hunt bats, mice, and small lizards.


Many people around the world welcome hunter spiders into their homes because they eat pests. These aren't just cockroaches and water bugs, but if the spider is big enough, it can even keep a lot of mice at bay.

Most hunter spiders are docile and will run away when threatened. However, it's understandable if homeowners really don't want giant poisonous spiders in their homes. In this case, a pest control expert can be called in to trap them and remove them humanely.

See all 104 animals that start with H

about the author

My name is Rebecca and I have been a professional freelancer for nearly ten years. I write SEO content and graphic design. When I'm not working, I'm obsessed with cats and pet mice.

Read more  Mammoth vs. Elephant: What's the Difference?

Huntsman Spider FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Are hunter spiders dangerous?

Hunter spiders are not actually dangerous. They are venomous rather than venomous, and while some hunter spider bites are painful, they usually don't require a person to go to the hospital.

How many legs does a hunter spider have?

Hunter spiders have eight legs.

How do you identify a hunter spider?

In general, hunter spiders are large spiders that hug their legs like crabs. They don't spin webs but are very fast. They can zip across floors, up walls, and even through ceilings. They are usually (but not always) gray or brown in color.

How do you get rid of hunter spiders?

If a person simply cannot live with a hunter spider, it can be humanely trapped and released in the woods. Huntsman spiders are good for the environment and provide an inexpensive, virtually free form of pest control. People should avoid killing them.

Do hunter spiders live in the United States?

Some hunter spiders are found in the United States. They include the genera Olios, Macrinus, Decaphora and Curicaberis .

Can a hunter spider kill you?

A hunter spider's bite cannot kill a healthy adult, but some spiders' venom can make a person very sick. Still, most people bitten by a giant crab spider don't need to go to the hospital.

Are hunter spiders friendly?

Hunter spiders or wood spiders may not be very friendly, but they don't go out of their way to attack humans. They are more interested in cockroaches and other prey they can handle.

Why is it called a hunter spider?

The hunter spider gets its name because it is good at hunting prey.

What is the average size of a hunter spider?

The average leg span of a hunting spider is 7.9 inches, while the male giant giant spider of Laos can have a leg span of nearly a foot.

How much does a hunter spider weigh?

Depending on the species, a hunter spider can weigh anywhere from 0.024 ounces to 0.37 pounds.

What is the largest species of hunter spider?

The largest species of hunter spider is the giant hunter spider. The spiders were only discovered in 2001 and live in remote caves in Laos.

What is the main difference between a hunter spider and a tarantula?

The main differences between hunter spiders and tarantulas are appearance, behavior, and habitat.

Thanks for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the 10hunting.com editorial team.

  1. Bug guide, available here: https://bugguide.net/node/view/6928
  2. Roaring Earth, available here: https://roaring.earth/the-huntsman/
  3. Wikipedia, available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Sparassidae_species
  4. Kidadl, available here: https://kidadl.com/animal-facts/huntsman-spider-facts
  5. Live Science, available here: https://www.livescience.com/41428-huntsman-spider.html
  6. Australian Museum, available here: https://australian.museum/learn/animals/spiders/huntsman-spiders/