Understanding the Wandering Spider: Quick Essential Facts

wandering spider range

Wandering spiders are a group of venomous arachnids found primarily in South America.

Among these, the Brazilian wandering spider is particularly known for its potent venom and unique behavior. They are often referred to as “banana spiders” due to their frequent encounters with humans in banana plantations.

As a reader, you might be interested in learning more about these fascinating creatures, including their habitat, hunting techniques, and the effects of their venom.

In this article, we will delve into the world of wandering spiders and provide you with all the essential information to satisfy your curiosity.

Wandering Spider

Scientific Classification and Naming

The wandering spider belongs to the genus Phoneutria , which is a part of the Ctenidae family.

These spiders are known for their potent venom and aggressive behavior. Here is the scientific classification of the wandering spider:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Family: Ctenidae
  • Genus: Phoneutria

Within the genus Phoneutria, two species are particularly noteworthy: Phoneutria fera and Phoneutria nigriventer, also known as P. nigriventer . These spiders are primarily found in South America and other tropical regions.

Phoneutria fera and P. nigriventer differ in some aspects. Let’s compare their features using a table:

Some key characteristics of the wandering spiders in the genus Phoneutria include:

  • Potent venom that can be dangerous to humans
  • Nocturnal hunters and are active at night
  • Equipped with long, spiny legs for capturing prey
  • Aggressive defenders of their territory

By understanding the scientific classification and differences between Phoneutria species, you can better appreciate the diversity and fascinating biology of these wandering spiders.

Identification and Appearance

Color and size.

The wandering spider, also known as the banana spider, has a distinctive appearance that can help you easily identify it in the wild.

They usually have a combination of hairy brown and black colors on their body. Their size can vary, but they are generally considered large spiders. Their size can range from 1 to 2 inches in body length.

wandering spider range

When it comes to wandering spider’s leg span, these creatures can have an impressive reach. Their leg span can extend up to 5-6 inches.

Some key characteristics of a wandering spider’s legs include:

Habitat and Distribution

Wandering Spiders are known to inhabit various environments, including rainforests and tropical forests.

These spiders can adapt to different habitats based on their needs and availability of food sources. They prefer warm and humid places, as these conditions suit their growth and reproduction.

Geographical Coverage

Wandering spiders are found in Central and South America .

They live in forests from Costa Rica to Argentina, including Colombia, Venezuela, The Guianas, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Northern Argentina.

They may also be present in some parts of the United States, particularly in the northern part of southern America.

However, they don’t inhabit countries like Australia. In summary, the Wandering Spider is mostly prevalent in the following areas:

  • South America
  • Central America
  • Southern parts of the United States

Types of Wandering Spiders

Here’s a brief description of the major types of wandering spiders.

Brazilian wandering spiders

Also known as armed or banana spiders, these spiders are nocturnal and don’t make webs.

They are known to have been transported outside of South America in banana shipments.

Phoneutria nigriventer

These spiders contain neurotoxins that can cause cerebral changes and breakdown of the blood-brain barrier .

Their venom is medically significant and has been used in manufacturing drugs. Their bites may be fatal to children.

Ctenus captiosus

Also known as the Florida false wolf spider or tropical wolf spider, this species is found in the United States.

Some species of these spiders are large and scary-looking, but they’re only mildly venomous. Their venom is comparable to a bee sting.

Other types of wandering spiders include: Acantheis, Acanthoctenus, Africactenus, and Afroneutria.

wandering spider range

Behavior and Diet

Aggression level.

Wandering spiders, as their name suggests, are known for their aggressive behavior .

While they won’t attack without provocation, if they feel threatened, they will not hesitate to defend themselves.

This is especially true during mating season.

Prey and Predators

In their natural habitat, wandering spiders primarily feed on insects and small vertebrates, such as:

  • Insects like ants and moths
  • Small amphibians

This diverse diet allows them to thrive in various ecosystems.

However, they are not top predators, as their natural predators include larger birds, mammals, and other spiders.

Nocturnal Activities

Wandering spiders are nocturnal creatures , which means they are active during the night.

During the day, they remain hidden in their retreats, often made from rolled-up leaves or small crevices.

At night, they leave their hiding spots to search for prey using their strong hunting skills.

wandering spider range

Venom and Its Effects

Composition of venom.

The venom of the wandering spider is a complex mixture containing several toxic components.

Its main component is a potent neurotoxin, which can have severe effects on your nervous system 1 . Here’s a brief overview of its composition:

  • Neurotoxins

Symptoms and Severity

A wandering spider’s venomous bite can cause a wide range of symptoms, depending on the severity of envenomation. These symptoms may include 2 :

  • Mild to moderate pain
  • Redness and swelling at the bite site
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blurred vision
  • High blood pressure

Some severe cases may result in life-threatening complications, such as respiratory failure or even death 2 .

Medical Treatment and Antivenom

If bitten by a wandering spider, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Treatment often involves the following steps:

  • Cleaning and immobilizing the affected area
  • Monitoring and managing the symptoms
  • Administering antivenom if it’s available and appropriate, depending on the severity of envenomation 3

Antivenom is specific to the venom of the wandering spider and can help neutralize its effects.

However, the availability of antivenom may be limited in some regions 3 .

Always remember that prevention is better than cure: learning how to identify and avoid wandering spiders is the best way to stay safe.

wandering spider range

Reproduction and Mating

Mating ritual.

When it’s time for reproduction, the wandering spider undergoes an intriguing mating ritual.

The male spider performs a dance to attract the female by displaying his brightly colored legs and vibrating his body.

During the process, the male also produces a sperm web and transfers his sperm to the female’s reproductive organs using his pedipalps.

Egg Sacs and Offspring

After the mating process, the female wandering spider will create an egg sac to protect her eggs.

The sac consists of silk and can hold hundreds of eggs. She then attaches it to a safe hiding place, usually against a protective surface or within a secure web.

The female often guards the egg sac to ensure the protection of her offspring until they hatch.

Once the spiderlings hatch, they are known to be highly independent.

They disperse quickly and start their own journey, fending for themselves soon after emerging from the egg sac.

As they grow, they’ll go through a series of molts before reaching adulthood and beginning their own reproductive cycle.

Danger and Defense Mechanisms

The Wandering Spider is known to be one of the most dangerous spiders in the world.

Although they can potentially kill humans, fatalities are rare due to their reluctance to bite.

Oddly enough, their venom can cause an involuntary erection in men, alongside other painful symptoms.

Here are some ways the Wandering Spider protects itself and displays its dangerous nature:

  • Fangs : These spiders are equipped with strong, sharp fangs that can easily pierce human skin, allowing them to inject their venom with ease.
  • Venom : Their venom is potent and can cause severe pain, inflammation, and other adverse effects. In rare cases, it can even lead to death.

While interacting with Wandering Spiders, be cautious and observe them from a safe distance.

Knowing their defense mechanisms will help you respect their space and avoid any unpleasant encounters.

Remember, it’s essential to be informed and aware when dealing with these fascinating, yet dangerous creatures.

wandering spider range

Comparison with Other Dangerous Spiders

Comparison to black widow.

The black widow spider is notorious for its potent venom, but the wandering spider has a stronger venom overall.

Both spiders are capable of causing severe symptoms, but the black widow’s venom is primarily neurotoxic, affecting your nervous system.

In contrast, the wandering spider’s venom can cause both neurotoxic and cytotoxic effects, potentially damaging your nerves and cells.

  • Potent neurotoxic venom
  • Red hourglass marking
  • Stronger venom (neurotoxic and cytotoxic)
  • No distinct marking

Comparison to Brown Recluse

The brown recluse spider is known for its necrotic venom that can lead to tissue damage and sometimes requires medical intervention.

While both the brown recluse and wandering spider can produce venomous bites, wandering spiders are considered more dangerous due to the potency of their venom and the severity of their bite symptoms.

  • Necrotic venom
  • Dark violin-shaped marking

Comparison to Wolf Spider

Wolf spiders are frequently mistaken for more dangerous spiders due to their size and appearance.

Although they can bite, their venom is not particularly potent and generally only causes mild itching, redness, and swelling.

In comparison, the wandering spider’s venom is far more dangerous, and its bite can result in serious symptoms, requiring immediate medical attention.

  • Large and hairy
  • Smoother appearance

Comparison to Sydney Funnel-Web Spider

The Sydney funnel-web spider is another highly venomous spider known for its potentially lethal bites.

While both spiders possess powerful venom, the wandering spider has a broader range of symptoms due to the combination of neurotoxic and cytotoxic effects.

In conclusion, wandering spiders are more dangerous than wolf spiders but their venom’s effects are more varied compared to black widows, brown recluses, and Sydney funnel-web spiders.

Be cautious around these spiders and seek medical help if bitten.

Interesting Facts and Guinness World Records

The Wandering Spider, also known as the Brazilian Wandering Spider, is a fascinating creature that has caught the attention of many.

They belong to the genus Phoneutria , which means “murderess” in Greek, giving you an idea of their potency. Let’s explore some interesting facts about this spider and its place in the Guinness World Records.

wandering spider range

First, you might be curious about their venom. The Wandering Spider is known for having one of the most potent venoms among spiders.

In fact, it holds the Guinness World Record for the most venomous spider. Their venom contains a potent neurotoxin that can cause severe symptoms, including difficulty breathing, high blood pressure, and intense pain.

Apart from their venom, their behavior is also quite intriguing. These spiders are called “wandering” because they are known for actively hunting their prey rather than spinning webs to catch them.

They are mostly nocturnal creatures and, during the day, can be found hiding in logs or dark crevices.

Here are a few more notable characteristics of the Wandering Spider:

  • Females are larger than males, with a body length of up to 1.6 inches (4 cm).
  • They have eight eyes, arranged in two rows, which help them in hunting.
  • The Wandering Spider is primarily found in Central and South America, particularly in Brazil.
  • They are known to show aggression when threatened.

While the Wandering Spider is a marvel of the arachnid world, it’s essential to keep a safe distance from them due to their venomous nature.

However, their unique characteristics and record-breaking venom potency make them a fascinating subject for those interested in the natural world.

Prevention and Safety Measures

To protect yourself from wandering spiders, there are some simple safety measures you can take.

Firstly, be cautious in areas where these spiders may live, such as dark and warm spaces. For example, avoid reaching into crevices or lifting piles of wood without inspecting them first.

Always wear appropriate shoes when outdoors, particularly in wooded or grassy areas. This can help prevent bites on your feet or ankles.

Reduce the risk of wandering spiders entering your home by sealing gaps and cracks. This minimizes the chance of the spiders finding a way inside.

Regularly clean your living spaces, paying special attention to dark and hidden areas. By maintaining a clean environment, you’ll discourage wandering spiders from making themselves at home.

When out in nature, avoid disturbing spider habitats like webs or egg sacs. This can prevent agitating wandering spiders, reducing your chance of accidental encounters.

Remember, wandering spiders can be dangerous, but by taking these precautions, you can significantly reduce your risk of encountering them or being bitten. Stay safe and always be aware of your surroundings.

In summary, wandering spiders, particularly those in the genus Phoneutria, are a group of venomous arachnids predominantly found in Central, South America and parts of Southern United States.

These spiders, including the Brazilian wandering spider, are known for their potent venom, nocturnal hunting habits, and aggressive defense mechanisms.

Their venom, containing neurotoxins and other components, can cause severe symptoms in humans, making them one of the most dangerous spider species.

Despite their fearsome reputation, fatalities are rare, and they play a vital role in their ecosystems.

It’s important to respect their space and take preventive measures to avoid encounters. Understanding these spiders’ behavior, habitat, and characteristics can help in appreciating their role in nature while ensuring safety.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2857337/ ↩

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3851068/ ↩ ↩ 2

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6560916/ ↩ ↩ 2

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about wandering spiders. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Wandering Spider from Ecuador

wandering spider range

Hi Michele, There is a resemblance to the Dolomedes Fishing Spiders, and finding it near a river lends credence to that possibility. Eric Eaton noticed this posting and has this to say: ” Ok, the spiders from Ecuador and Costa Rica: They are most likely NOT wolf spiders, but wandering spiders, either in the family Ctenidae or Sparassidae. They tend to be more common, and even larger than, wolf spiders in the tropics. At least one species, Phoneutria fera, is extremely aggressive, with potentially deadly venom. Do not mess with large spiders in Central and South America! The venomous types are very difficult to distinguish from harmless species, and in any event, a bite is going to be really painful. These spiders sometimes stow away in bananas, houseplants, and other exported goods, so they can show up in odd places. Be careful where you put your hands.”

Update:  May 14, 2013 We now have a confirmation that this is a Wandering Spider, Phoneutria fera , and it is a dangerous species.  See Encyclopedia Britannica and Animal Corner .

Letter 2 – Brazilian Wandering Spider: Most Venomous Animal

wandering spider range

Hi Martin, We are happy you were able to write to us after your encounter with this Brazilian Wandering Spider and are thrilled to be able to post your story and photos to our site. We started to research, and our first hit has a different species name. Phoneutria fera is described as: “The Brazilian Wandering Spider is not for the ‘pet keeper’. Brazilian Wandering Spiders are extremely fast, extremely venomous, and extremely aggressive. These large and dangerous true spiders are ranked among the most venomous spiders known to man. In fact, the Brazilian Wandering Spider is the most venomous spider in the New World! In South America, these true spiders are commonly encountered in peoples’ homes, supposedly hiding in peoples’ shoes, hats, and other clothes. The Brazilian Wandering Spider does not remain on a web, rather, it wanders the forest floor, hence the name.” Our favorite information on Wikipedia is that Phoneutria is Greek for “murderess”. Here is one final tidbit about the effect of the bite of the Brazilian Wandering Spider on the human male .

Letter 3 – Possibly Wandering Spider from Ecuador

wandering spider range

Dear Mike, This is really an interesting Spider, but other than to say it appears to be a hunting spider that does not build a web to entrap prey, we aren’t sure about its identity.  Many hunting spiders can jump quite well.  It looks very much like the spider in a posting in our archives, also from Ecuador, that we identified as possibly a Wandering Spider in the genus Phoneutria, a venomous and potentially dangerous genus .  The spotted legs on your individual look like the spotted legs on an individual in an image on Wikipedia of a Wandering Spider in the genus Phoneutria .  There are many images of Brazilian Wandering Spiders on Primal Shutter and we believe that might be a correct identification for your individual.

Thank you for the information.  After reading more about the spider, I’m glad it didn’t jump! Mike

Letter 4 – Possibly Wandering Spider from Ecuador

wandering spider range

Dear Carl, We believe, though we are not certain, that this might be a Wandering Spider in the genus Phoneutria, and you may read more about Wandering Spiders on the Museum für Naturkunde Karlsruhe website where it states:  “There is no doubt that the venom of some of the species is quite potent for mammals, including humans.”  We eagerly welcome additional opinions on this identification.  Perhaps Cesar Crash of Insetologia can provide something.  In the future, please submit a single species per submission form as it makes it extremely difficult for us to categorize postings with multiple species.

Letter 5 – Wandering Spider from Belize

wandering spider range

Hi Karl, Thanks for allowing us to post your excellent image of a Wandering Spider, Cupiennius salei .  The species is pictured on iNaturalist .


Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page .

Piyushi Dhir

Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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8 comments . leave new.

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Hi Michele, I am an Ecuadorian scientist and specialized on spiders, I would like to find one like yours, I can say that, almost without doubt, you found the Phoneutria itself, it is the Phoneutria fera, look at this picture: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-bFH9qzT0F7U/T_2sZuk6xAI/AAAAAAAAAGY/8jnMVcPOcNI/s1600/phoneutria_fera2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://rangerbaiano.blogspot.com/2012/07/animais-peconhentos-e-venenosos.html&usg=__iCWEz7S86xub6RAyvXTER6HBaco=&h=864&w=834&sz=215&hl=es-419&start=6&zoom=1&tbnid=jjOROVO9h-vKXM:&tbnh=145&tbnw=140&ei=99eRUY6xKo2K9QTLvYCoDQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dphoneutria%2Bfera%26sa%3DN%26hl%3Des-US%26sout%3D1%26tbm%3Disch%26prmd%3Divns&itbs=1&sa=X&ved=0CDYQrQMwBQ Can you see the similarities?, unfortunately the spider might be in a better life today 🙂 Another thing, when you want identifications you should take a picture in front, the under part, and the upper part, as well as some characteristics about behaviour like how they react when you approach. The Phoneutria is a very agressive one.. best wishes, bye.

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Hi Miguel, Thanks so much for the comment. This is a seven year old posting and we did not have the ability to post comments when it was originally posted online. We have made an update on What’s That Bug? and your comment is greatly appreciated.

Ah, there is also needed the size and the picture of its face so we can see the eye arrangement, depending on that it could also be pisauridae, but I stay in Ctenidae..

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This is a female Cupiennius sp. wandering spider.

Perhaps surprisingly, this ubiquitous large spider of the Mindo area appears to be undescribed to species level.

Although one is indeed best advised to exercise caution in the presence of large ctenids, members of the genus Cupiennius are not known to be dangerously venomous (Barth, 2002). By way of confirmation, my girlfriend, Shannon Bowley, managed to be bitten by a mature female of this Mindo species in 2013 – she felt only mild effects, equivalent to a bee sting.

Thanks for this valuable information.

' src=

I’m planning a trip to Ecuador and I’m fearing these spiders. Do they get in houses? Any tips to keep them out, so I can sleep at night?

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Brazilian wandering spiders: Bites & other facts

Brazilian wandering spiders don't build webs but crawl on the forest floor at night in search of prey, which they kill with neurotoxic venom.

A closeup of a Brazilian wandering spider.


Size & characteristics, bites and venom, additional resources.

Brazilian wandering spiders are aggressive spiders that belong to the genus Phoneutria, which means "murderess" in Greek.

These critters, also known as armed spiders or banana spiders, are some of the most venomous spiders on Earth. Their large mouthparts, or chelicerae, inflict painful bites loaded with neurotoxic venom that can be deadly to humans — especially children — although in most cases immediate medical care can prevent death with antivenom, according to a 2018 study in the journal Clinical Toxinology in Australia, Europe, and Americas .

Brazilian wandering spiders are frequently listed among the deadliest spiders in the world . They were named the world's deadliest spiders multiple times by Guinness World Records, although the current record-holder is the male Sydney funnel-web spider ( Atrax robustus ). But "classifying an animal as deadly is controversial," Jo-Anne Sewlal, an arachnologist at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, previously told Live Science. Each bite is unique, and the damage it causes depends on the amount of venom injected, Sewlal said. 

Jo-Anne Sewlal was a noted arachnologist from Trinidad and Tobago. While completing her PhD, she received the National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST) 2012 Award for Excellence in Science and Technology for Junior Scientist. In 2013, She received a doctorate in zoology from the University of the West Indies. She discovered several species of spiders in her home country, surveyed the arachnids across several countries the Caribbean and appeared as an expert on the topic on The Science Channel. She died of an allergic reaction in January 2020.

There are nine species of Brazilian wandering spider, all of which are nocturnal and can be found in Brazil. Some species also can be found throughout Central and South America, from Costa Rica to Argentina, according to a 2008 article in the journal American Entomologist . Study author Richard S. Vetter , a research associate in the department of entomology at the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, wrote that specimens of these powerful arachnids have been mistakenly exported to North America and Europe in banana shipments. However, Vetter noted, in many cases of cargo infestation, the spider in question is a harmless banana spider (genus Cupiennius ) that is misidentified as a Phoneutria . The two types of spiders look similar.

The taxonomy of Brazilian wandering spiders, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) , is:

Kingdom : Animalia 

Subkingdom : Bilateria 

Infrakingdom : Protostomia 

Superphylum : Ecdysozoa 

Phylum : Arthropoda 

Subphylum : Chelicerata 

Class : Arachnida 

Order : Araneae 

Family : Ctenidae 

Genus : Phoneutria  

  • Phoneutria bahiensis
  • Phoneutria boliviensis
  • Phoneutria eickstedtae
  • Phoneutria fera
  • Phoneutria keyserlingi
  • Phoneutria nigriventer
  • Phoneutria pertyi
  • Phoneutria reidyi
  • Phoneutria depilata , according to a 2021 study published in the journal ZooKeys , which found that Phoneutria boliviensis actually included two separate species from different habitats. 

Brazilian wandering spiders are large, with bodies reaching up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) and a leg span of up to 7 inches (18 cm), according to the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany. The species vary in color, though all are hairy and mostly brown and gray, although some species have lightly colored spots on their abdomen. Many species have bands of black and yellow or white on the underside of the two front legs, according to the University of Florida . 

A Brazilian wandering spider stands on its hind legs on a leaf stem.

These arachnids "are called wandering spiders because they do not build webs but wander on the forest floor at night, actively hunting prey," Sewlal told Live Science in an interview conducted in 2014, before her death. They kill by both ambush and direct attack.

They spend most of their day hiding under logs or in crevices, and come out to hunt at night. They eat insects, other spiders and sometimes, small amphibians, reptiles and mice. 

Research into one species of Brazilian wandering spider, Phoneutria boliviensis , revealed that these spiders eat a mix of arthropods and reptiles. DNA metabarcoding, a technique that examines the DNA and RNA in a sample, of the guts of 57 spiders identified 96 prey species, including flies, beetles, butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, locusts and crickets, according to research from the University of Tolima and the University of Ibagué in Colombia . Some of the female spiders also ate lizards and snakes.

While their bites are powerful and painful, "their bites are a means of self-defense and only done if they are provoked intentionally or by accident," Sewlal said.

When Brazilian wandering spiders feel threatened, they often assume a defensive position by standing on their hind legs and stretching out their front legs to expose their fangs, according to the 2018 study in Clinical Toxinology in Australia, Europe, and Americas. This posture is sometimes accompanied by side-to-side movements. The spiders can also jump distances up to 1.3 feet (40 cm). 

A gray brazilian wandering spider sits on a green leaf over a large white egg

In the Brazilian wandering spider, just as in most spider species, the female is larger than the male. Males approach females cautiously when attempting to mate, according to the biology department at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse . Males perform a dance to get females' attention, and males often fight each other over the female. The female can be picky, and she often turns down many males before choosing a mating partner. Once she does pick one, the male needs to watch out; females often attack the males once copulation is finished.

The female then can store the sperm in a separate chamber from the eggs until she is ready to fertilize them. She will lay up to 1,000 eggs at a time, which are kept safe in a spun-silk egg sac.

Brazilian wandering spiders typically live for one or two years.

Brazilian wandering spiders' venom is a complex cocktail of toxins, proteins and peptides, according to the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany. The venom affects ion channels and chemical receptors in victims' neuromuscular systems.

After a human is bitten by one of these spiders, they may experience initial symptoms such as severe burning pain at the site of the bite, sweating and goosebumps, Sewlal said. Within 30 minutes, symptoms become systemic and include high or low blood pressure , fast or a slow heart rate , nausea, abdominal cramping, hypothermia, vertigo, blurred vision, convulsions and excessive sweating associated with shock. People who are bitten by a Brazilian wandering spider should seek medical attention immediately.

Their venom is perhaps most famous for triggering painful and long-lasting erections . For that reason, in a 2023 study, scientists reported that they were testing the venom in humans as a potential treatment for erectile dysfunction in those for whom Viagra didn't work.

Biologists extract venom from a Brazilian wandering spider.

However, these bites are rare, and envenomations, or exposure to these toxins from a spider bite, are usually mild, Vetter said. For instance, a 2000 study in the journal Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo found that only 2.3% of people with bites who came to a Brazilian hospital over a 13-year period were treated with antivenom. (The other bites did not contain enough venom to require it.) Most of the bites were from the species P. nigriventer and P. keyserlingi in eastern coastal Brazil. About 4,000 bites reportedly happen each year in Brazil, but only 0.5% of those cases are severe, according to the 2018 study. Meanwhile, 15 deaths have been attributed to Phoneutria in Brazil since 1903, the 2018 study reported. 

"It is unlikely that the spider would inject all of its venom into you, as this venom is not only needed as a means of defense but to immobilize prey," Sewlal said. "So if it did inject all of its venom, it [would] have to wait until its body manufactured more before it could hunt." That would also leave the spider vulnerable to being attacked by predators.

Furthermore, Sewlal pointed out that venom production requires a lot of a spider's resources and time. "So if the spider were to attack frequently and use up all of its venom, it [would] be safe to assume that it has a ready food supply to replace the energy and resources used. This situation does not exist in the wild."

  • Learn more about Brazilian wandering spiders from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse .
  • Read about several species of Brazilian wandering spiders, including several images of the arachnids at the University of Florida .
  • Find a spider in your bananas? It may or may not be a deadly species, according to the University of California, Riverside .

This article was originally published on Nov. 20, 2014. 

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Jessie Szalay is a contributing writer to FSR Magazine. Prior to writing for Live Science, she was an editor at Living Social. She holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from George Mason University and a bachelor's degree in sociology from Kenyon College. 

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wandering spider range

Animal Corner

Discover the many amazing animals that live on our planet.

Brazilian Wandering Spider

The Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria fera) is an aggressive and highly venomous spider . It was first discovered in Brazil hence its name. However, this genus is known to exist elsewhere in South and Central America .

The Brazilian Wandering 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 being the most venomous animal .

In this particular genus, there are five known similar species whose members are also highly venomous. They include some of the relatively few species of spiders that present a threat to human beings.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Characteristics

The Brazilian wandering spider can grow to have a leg span of up to 4 – 5 inches. They are large hairy spindly-looking spiders who have eight eyes, two of which are large. Brazilian wandering spiders are fast-moving spiders, their legs are strong and spiny and they have distinctive red jaws which they display when angered.

The Brazilian wandering spider is not a Tarantula . Brazilian wandering spiders are not even in the same family group. Tarantulas are harmless to humans and are mostly ambush killers who wait for prey to come to them. Brazilian wandering spiders are active hunters. Brazilian wandering spiders and Tarantulas do have one thing in common, however, they do not eat bananas.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Habitat and Spider Webs

The Brazilian Wandering spider is so-called because it wanders the jungle floor, rather than residing in a lair or maintaining a web. This is another reason it is considered so dangerous. In densely populated areas, the Brazilian Wandering spider will usually search for cover and dark places to hide during daytime, leading it to hide within houses, clothes, cars, boots, boxes and log piles. This usually causes accidents when people disturb them.

The Brazilian Wandering spider is also called the ‘banana spider’ as it is occasionally found within shipments of bananas. As a result, any large spider appearing in a bunch of bananas should be treated with due care.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Diet

Adult Brazilian Wandering spiders eat crickets, other large insects, small lizards and mice. Spiderlings of this species eat flightless fruit flies and pinhead crickets.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Reproduction

All spiders produce silk, a thin, strong protein strand extruded by the spider from spinnerets most commonly found on the end of the abdomen. Many species use it to trap insects in webs, although there are many species that hunt freely such as the Brazilian Wandering spider. Silk can be used to aid in climbing, form smooth walls for burrows, build egg sacs, wrap prey and temporarily hold sperm, among other applications.

Brazilian Wandering spiders reproduce by means of eggs, which are packed into silk bundles called egg sacs. The male spider must (in most cases) make a timely departure after mating to escape before the females normal predatory instincts return.

Mature male spiders have swollen bulbs on the end of their palps for this purpose and this is a useful way to identify whether the spider is male or female. Once the sperm is inside the female spider, she stores it in a chamber and only uses it during the egg-laying process, when the eggs come into contact with the male sperm for the first time and are fertilized. The Brazilian Wandering spiders life cycle is 1 – 2 years.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Venom

Bites from the Brazilian Wandering spider may result in only a couple of painful pinpricks to full-blown envenomed. In either case, people bitten by this spider or any Ctenid should seek immediate emergency treatment as the venom is possibly life threatening.

The Phoneutria fera and Phoneutria nigriventer (two species of wandering spider) are the two most commonly implicated as the most vicious and deadly of the Phoneutria spiders.

The Phoneutria not only has a potent neurotoxin, but is reported to have one of the most excruciatingly painful envenoms of all spiders due to its high concentration of serotonin. They have the most active venom of any living spiders.

One of their members, the Brazilian Huntsman, is thought to be the most venomous spider in the world. Brazilian wandering spiders are certainly dangerous and bite more people than any other spiders.

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About joanne spencer.

I've always been passionate about animals which led me to a career in training and behaviour. As an animal professional I'm committed to improving relationships between people and animals to bring them more happiness.

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Brazilian Wandering Spider facts

Brazilian Wandering Spider facts

Last updated on July 12th, 2023 at 01:48 pm

When you think of deadly spiders, there are a few names that spring to mind – but none more infamous than the Brazilian Wandering Spider. This species is reputed to have the most toxic venom of any spider, having a bite which causes horrendous side-effects like priapism and convulsions.

What you may not know, however, is that the Brazilian Wandering Spider name is actually used for a few species. The most common, and perhaps the most medically significant in the group are Phoneutria nigriventer and Phoneutria fera .

In this post, I’ll tell you more about these two species, from where they live, to what they eat. To keep things simple, I’ll just refer to them both as the “Brazilian Wandering Spider”, given how similar they are. Let’s dive in…

Quick Facts

To kick things off, here are some fascinating factoids about the Brazilian Wandering Spider:

  • They belong to the genus ‘Phoneutria’, which translates to ‘murderess’ in Greek.
  • They are known for their highly potent venom.
  • Wandering Spiders are nocturnal creatures.
  • They are also known as ‘banana spiders’ due to their tendency to hide in banana plants.
  • They are not web-weavers but active hunters. This is called ‘cursorial’ hunting.
  • It’s considered one of the most dangerous spiders in the world.

Other Common Names

The Brazilian Wandering Spider goes by several other names. The most common is the ‘banana spider’, thanks to their notorious habit of stowing away in banana shipments. In their native Portuguese, they’re known as ‘aranhas-armadeiras’ , translating to ‘armed spiders’ – a reference to their aggressive defense posture.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Venom

Possessing one of the most potent venoms among spiders, the Brazilian Wandering Spider’s bite is a cause for concern. Its venom is a complex cocktail of toxins, proteins, and peptides.

The main component that gets everyone’s attention is the neurotoxin, called PhTx3 , which can interfere with the functioning of our nervous system, leading to a variety of symptoms.

Brazilian Wandering Spider facts

What’s the Benefit of Having Such Strong Venom?

With venom potent enough to kill a human, one might wonder why this spider needs such a powerful weapon. The answer lies in its lifestyle.

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are active hunters and their venom is primarily used to incapacitate prey quickly. The venom’s potency also serves as an effective deterrent against potential predators.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Deaths

Despite the notorious reputation, actual deaths from Brazilian Wandering Spider bites are rare. This is largely due to the rapid medical attention available in areas where these spiders are common. Plus, these spiders don’t always inject venom when they bite – a dry bite can occur.

This actually common in venomous animals, including spiders and reptiles. Occasionally they bite and decide to not inject any venom. The point of this is to conserve it, given that it is energetically costly to produce.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Size

Being quite large and impressive compared to most arachnids, adult Brazilian Wandering Spiders can reach a leg span of up to 7 inches (18 cm) . The body size excluding the legs can be up to 2 inches (5 cm). Their size contributes to their intimidating presence.

If you’d to learn more about why they get so big, check out my article on Brazilian Wandering Spider size for more info!

Brazilian Wandering Spider Location and Habitat

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are native to South America. Here’s a quick rundown of their range and preferred habitats:

Brazilian Wandering Spider facts

Brazilian Wandering Spider Speed

An adept hunter, the Brazilian Wandering Spider can move quickly when chasing prey or evading threats. While exact speed measurements can vary, some sources report that these spiders can achieve speeds up to 1 meter per second.

What Does the Brazilian Wandering Spider Eat?

The Brazilian Wandering Spider’s diet consists mainly of insects, other spiders, and occasionally small amphibians and reptiles. Their potent venom allows them to tackle prey larger than themselves, making them one of the apex micro-predators in their habitat.

Final Thoughts…

While the Brazilian Wandering Spider might seem terrifying to many, as an arachnid enthusiast, I find them to be incredibly fascinating. Their potent venom, hunting prowess, and adaptation to diverse habitats reveal the intricate beauty of the evolutionary process.

Just remember, these spiders, like all creatures, play a vital role in our ecosystem. Respect, not fear, should be our response to these remarkable arachnids.

The truth is that most bites are accidental, but they do occur. The fact that so few deaths occur each year is a testament to the effectiveness of the antivenom that has now become widely available.

Brazilian Wandering Spider facts

FAQ related to the Brazilian Wandering Spider

What happens if you are bitten by a brazilian wandering spider.

Immediately after a bite from a Brazilian Wandering Spider, you will experience localized pain. Then, within 5 to 15 minutes the area around the bite will swell. The swelling can spread to most of a limb, for example. Finally, neurological symptoms like coldness, sweating, and convulsions will set in.

Do wandering spiders jump?

Wandering Spiders are excellent at jumping. They can jump several feet when surprised, and may occasionally use this as a tactic to evade predators. Jumping at you isn’t part of how bites happen though. When faced with humans, Wandering Spiders usually stand their ground and use their threat display of raised legs to warn us away.

Is Brazilian wandering spider friendly?

Wandering Spiders are not friendly. As a general rule, they are relatively calm, but can also be defensive. They tend to see humans as a threat, and will not take to being handled easily. That said, they are not aggressive, and most bites happen when someone accidentally touches one or tries to kill it.

Are Brazilian wandering spiders in Australia?

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are not found in Australia. The only species in Australia that get as large as Wandering Spiders are the Huntsman Spiders. At a distance they may appear relatively similar, but Huntsman Spiders are completely harmless to humans.

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Animals Around The Globe

The World’s Most Venomous Spider: The Brazilian Wandering Spider

Published: August 10, 2023

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Few things fear people’s hearts, like the mention of venomous spiders. According to the Guinness World Records , venomous spiders are some of the most dangerous creatures on Earth, and the Brazilian Wandering Spider is the world’s most venomous spider. This elusive arachnid is found in the rainforests of South America, more specifically in Brazil, Argentina, and French Guiana. ‘

It is considered one of Brazil’s most significant public health threats, with a potent venom capable of causing extreme pain, paralysis, and even death. Despite its fearsome reputation, however, the Brazilian Wandering Spider is a fascinating and unique creature with many incredible features that make it stand out from other spiders.

Brazilian wandering spider

Jump ahead to any section below!

Brazilian Wandering Spider’s Habitat And Range

Brazilian wandering spider

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is found in the rainforests of South America. These rainforests are the world’s largest and most biodiverse terrestrial ecosystems, covering an area of approximately 6.7 million square kilometers. This equates to roughly 40% of the total area of South America and spans nine countries, including Brazil, Peru, and Colombia.

The Amazon rainforest, the most extensive rainforest on Earth, plays an essential role in the Brazilian Wandering Spider’s habitat and range. The spider relies heavily on the dense canopy of trees in these rainforests for shelter and protection. The Amazon rainforest also provides the spider with an abundant prey source, including insects, small mammals, and other spiders.

The South American rainforests are characterized by their warm and humid climate, which creates the ideal conditions for the Brazilian Wandering Spider to thrive. These ecosystems also have a high rainfall throughout the year, which sustains the dense vegetation and creates an ideal environment for spiders to hunt and reproduce.

Check out: Uncovering The Enigma Of The Greenland Shark .

Specific Locations The Brazilian Wandering Spider Is found

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is most commonly found in Brazil. It can also be found in other parts of South America, such as Argentina and French Guiana. In Brazil, the spider can be found in various regions. This includes the Amazon rainforest, the Atlantic forest, and the Caatinga ecosystem.

The Atlantic forest, a tropical forest that spans the Brazilian coast, is also an important habitat for the Brazilian Wandering Spider. This ecosystem is under threat due to deforestation and urbanization. This has resulted in the loss of the spider’s natural habitat.

In French Guiana, the spider is present in the Guiana Amazonian Park, a protected area of the Amazon rainforest managed by the French government. The Guiana Amazonian Park is home to an array of biodiversity, including monkeys, jaguars, and over 400 species of birds. This makes it an important region for the Brazilian Wandering Spider’s survival.

Brazilian Wandering Spider’s Characteristics

Brazilian wandering spider

It is a remarkable arachnid species found in the rainforests of South America. It has numerous unique characteristics from other spiders. The Spider is large and intimidating, measuring up to 10 inches (25 cm) in leg span. Its body size ranges from 0.98 to 1.77 inches (2.5 to 4.5 cm) in length. This makes it one of the biggest spider species in the world. It has eight long and hairy legs, which help it move quickly and climb trees effortlessly.

The spider is striking, with a shiny brown or black body covered in short fine hairs. Its legs are also covered in fine hairs with dark stripes or spots. These markings have a unique pattern that helps to identify the spider from other species. Unlike most spiders, the Brazilian Wandering Spider doesn’t have a distinct web-spinning organ. But instead moves around the forest floor and trees in search of its prey.

Behavioral Patterns

They are aptly named because they are known to wander about and can cover a great distance while searching for food and mates. It’s primarily active at night and is a solitary hunter that preys on insects, spiders, rodents, and even small snakes. It has a unique hunting technique where it grabs its prey with its front legs and sinks fangs into it, injecting a potent venom that can quickly immobilize and kill its victim. Interestingly, this spider can adjust the amount of venom it injects to fit the size and the species of its prey, a skill unique to this spider species.

During the mating season, the Brazilian Wandering Spider’s behavior changes drastically. The males will approach females cautiously, tapping on the female’s web to signal their interest. They then perform a complex courtship display that involves waving their front legs, drumming their pedipalps, and vibrating on webs. The more intricate the display, the higher the chances of mating with the female.

Brazilian Wandering Spider’s Venom

Brazilian wandering spider

The venom of the Brazilian Wandering Spider is considered one of the deadliest in the world. The potency of the venom is due to the presence of a potent neurotoxin called PhTx3. This toxin is responsible for the spider’s ability to paralyze its prey and defend itself from predators.

In scientific studies, the venom of the Brazilian Wandering Spider has proven to be significantly more toxic than other venomous spiders, such as the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse. The effectiveness of this venom is a result of its unique chemical structure, which allows it to attack the nervous system of its victim and cause significant damage.

Check out: Bengal Tiger Vs. Western Diamondback Rattlesnake .

Effects Of Venom On Humans And Animals

The effects of the venom of the Brazilian Wandering Spider can be devastating. When bitten, victims may experience severe pain, muscle spasms, and even paralysis. In extreme cases, the venom can cause respiratory failure, resulting in death.

While the venom initially causes pain and discomfort, it can lead to severe, long-lasting symptoms. In addition to causing physical harm, the venom can also have psychological effects, leading to anxiety, panic attacks, and even PTSD.

Animals are also susceptible to the venom of the Brazilian Wandering Spider . Small animals, such as mice and birds, are often preyed upon by the spider, while larger animals, such as dogs and cats, can be bitten accidentally.

Public Health Threat And Prevention

Brazilian wandering spider

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is a significant public health threat in Brazil, with hundreds of bites reported yearly. The spider has a wide distribution throughout the country, and its venom is particularly toxic, making it a serious risk to human health.

Also, the spider is especially dangerous because it is highly aggressive and can be found in homes, gardens, and public spaces. This means that anyone can encounter the spider, regardless of location or occupation, making it difficult to prevent bites.

Measures Taken To Prevent Bites And Treat Victims

To prevent bites from the Brazilian Wandering Spider, it is essential to take steps to reduce the risk of encountering the spider. This may include keeping homes and gardens free of clutter and debris, sealing windows and doors, and avoiding areas where the spider is known to live.

In the case of a bite, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. While no anti-venom is available, medical professionals can offer supportive care to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Brazilian Wandering Spider’s venom contains a potent neurotoxin called PhTx3, which can cause extreme pain, muscle spasms, and paralysis in humans. This venom is 20 times more deadly than a rattlesnake’s and can cause respiratory failure in victims.

It is primarily found in South and Central America, especially in the Amazon rainforest. They hide in dark, moist environments such as piles of leaves, tree trunks, and burrows.

To avoid contact with the Brazilian Wandering Spider, it is important to inspect your surroundings, especially before putting on shoes or reaching into piles of debris. It is advisable to wear gloves and long sleeves when working outdoors or in areas where these spiders may be present. If you suspect a Brazilian Wandering Spider has bitten you, seek medical attention immediately.

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Overall, the Brazilian Wandering Spider is a fascinating and deadly spider that deserves respect and caution. Though its venom is incredibly potent, the spider itself is a remarkable creature. Its ability to move quickly and seamlessly across the ground makes it a formidable predator in its native habitats. 

Despite its fearsome reputation, we must learn to coexist with this remarkable arachnid, preserving its unique place in the natural world. Given the immense diversity and beauty of our planet’s biodiversity, the Brazilian Wandering Spider reminds us that we still have much to learn about the remarkable creatures that share our planet.

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Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria Nigriventer)

The Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria nigriventer), also known as the armed spider or banana spider, is a deadly spider native to South America. This large, venomous arachnid is widely recognised as one of the most venomous spiders in the world. With a range of fascinating behaviours and unique adaptations, the Brazilian wandering spider has become a subject of interest for scientists and enthusiasts alike.

Physical Characteristics

Brazilian wandering spiders are known for their robust build, long legs, and powerful fangs. They are large spiders, with an average leg span of up to 6 inches (15 cm) and a body length that ranges from 1.7 to 2 inches (4.3 to 5 cm). Their size makes them particularly intimidating to encounter, as they are one of the largest spiders in their region.

The spider’s colouration varies depending on the species, but most Brazilian wandering spiders are brownish in colour with black or dark markings. This colouration enables them to blend into their natural habitat, making it easier for them to ambush their prey.

Anatomically, these spiders have a robust body, long and thick legs, and powerful fangs that can deliver venomous bites. Their eyes are arranged in two rows, with a total of eight eyes, which gives them a wide field of vision and the ability to detect motion from various angles. Their chelicerae (fang-bearing mouthparts) are large and powerful, capable of piercing the skin and delivering venom to their prey.

wandering spider range

Brazilian wandering spiders are primarily found in the tropical rainforests of South America, especially in Brazil, and one species in North America. Their preferred habitat includes a variety of environments ranging from the forest floor to trees and shrubs. The dense vegetation of the rainforest provides them with ample hiding spots, making it easier for them to ambush their prey.

These spiders are highly adaptable and can survive in a range of environments. They have even been found in human settlements, particularly in rural areas where there is less disturbance. In such cases, they may seek refuge in homes, barns, or other structures, especially during periods of heavy rain or when searching for food.

Diet and Hunting Techniques

Brazilian wandering spiders are carnivorous predators that primarily feed on insects, other spiders, and small vertebrates such as lizards and frogs. They have a diverse diet and can consume a wide range of prey, depending on their size and availability.

Unlike many other spiders, Brazilian wandering spiders do not spin webs to catch their prey. Instead, they actively hunt for food, relying on their acute senses, speed, and agility to catch their prey. They use a combination of stealth and ambush tactics to get close to their prey, and then swiftly strike with a venomous bite, immobilising their victim.

wandering spider range

The wandering behaviour of these spiders is what gives them their name. Instead of building a permanent web and waiting for prey to come to them, Brazilian wandering spiders actively search for food. This makes them highly mobile and increases their chances of encountering a wide variety of prey.

When threatened, Brazilian wandering spiders are known for their aggressive behaviour. They may raise their front legs and display their fangs in a defensive posture. This behaviour is a warning to potential predators that they are armed with venom and ready to strike if necessary.


The reproduction process in Brazilian wandering spiders begins with courtship rituals. Males initiate mating by approaching females and signalling their intentions through vibrations and leg movements. Once the female is receptive, the male deposits his sperm into the female’s reproductive organs.

After mating, the female lays a clutch of eggs and guards them until they hatch. The spiderlings then disperse to start their independent lives. As they grow, they moult several times, shedding their exoskeletons and developing into mature spiders.

Brazilian wandering spider, also known as banana spider

The Brazilian wandering spider venom is highly potent and contains a mix of toxins, including neurotoxins, proteins, and enzymes. This venom is highly effective at immobilising their prey, making it easier for the spider to consume it.

In humans, the venom can cause a range of symptoms, including intense pain, swelling, excessive sweating, blurred vision, and elevated heart rate. In rare cases, Brazilian wandering spider bite can lead to severe complications or even death. However, with prompt medical treatment, most victims recover without long-term effects.

Brazilian Wandering Spider and Humans

Brazilian wandering spiders are known to occasionally enter human settlements, especially in rural areas. While these encounters can be unnerving, the spiders generally prefer to avoid confrontation with humans.

If you encounter a Brazilian wandering spider, it is important to stay calm and avoid provoking it. If you are bitten, seek medical attention immediately, as prompt treatment is crucial for minimising the effects of the venom.

Conservation Efforts

Conservation efforts are essential for Brazilian wandering spiders, as their natural habitat is increasingly threatened by deforestation, agriculture, and urbanisation. Protecting the rainforests and other natural habitats of these spiders is crucial for their survival.

Interesting Facts

  • The venom of the Brazilian wandering spider is being studied for potential medical applications, including pain relief and anti-venom development.
  • Despite their reputation as highly venomous spiders, Brazilian wandering spiders play an important role in controlling insect populations in their ecosystems.
  • These spiders are also known as “banana spiders” because they have been found in shipments of bananas.

The Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria nigriventer) is a remarkable arachnid with unique adaptations and behaviours. Despite their fearsome reputation, these spiders are an essential part of their ecosystems and play a vital role in controlling pest populations. Understanding and respecting these spiders is crucial for their conservation and coexistence with humans.

Sam Bryant

Sam loves to learn about animals and their habitats. He has been a nature lover from a very young age, and has been writing papers and articles about wildlife for as long as he can remember.

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Brazilian Wandering Spider: Care, Food, Habitat & Preventions

Mike Wallace

Have you ever heard of or do you know what a  Brazilian wandering spider is ? It is a big venomous spider from places like Central and South America, and people sometimes call it the  banana spider . Why? Well, we are about to find out!

Table of Contents

These wandering spiders are aggressive hunters who go out on the hunt at night. Their meals include both invertebrates (like insects) and vertebrates (creatures with a backbone, like small animals).

These spiders are super dangerous because their venom is like a powerful potion that can make people really sick or even worse. They usually hang out in tropical rainforests and even in cities, hiding in banana plants. 

So, let’s get more information about the world of this sneaky spider to learn the details about its looks, eating habits, where it lives, the venom it carries, and find out if it is genuinely risky. Ready to explore? Keep reading!

Brazilian Wandering Spider Description:

Scientific name and family:.

In Brazil, they are sometimes known as “ armed spiders ” (armadeiras), and they share the name “ banana spiders ” with a few other spiders. They have different names, but they are all talking about the same interesting spider!

Brazilian Wandering-Spider sitting on hand Spiders-Planet

The Brazilian wandering spider, scientifically known as  Phoneutria , Maximilian Perty kickstarted the Phoneutria genus in 1833. The name comes from the Greek word φονεύτρια , which means “murderess” and falls under the Animalia kingdom, Arthropoda phylum, and Arachnida class.

Within Arachnida, it is classified in the order Araneae, infraorder Araneomorphae, and Ctenidae family. The genus Phoneutria, described by Perty in 1833, includes the type species  Phoneutria fera .

This classification helps us understand where these spiders fit into the larger picture of living organisms.

The following 9 species are accepted by The  World Spider Catalog :

  • Phoneutria bahiensis
  • Phoneutria boliviensis
  • Phoneutria eickstedtae
  • Phoneutria fera
  • Phoneutria keyserlingi
  • Phoneutria nigriventer
  • Phoneutria pertyi
  • Phoneutria reidyi
  • Phoneutria depilata

What do Brazilian Wandering Spider look like?

Size range:.

The spiders in the Phoneutria group can get pretty big in size. Their legs can stretch out to be 13 to 18 centimeters (5 to 7 inches) wide, and their bodies can have a range between 17 to 48 millimeters (a little more than half an inch to almost 2 inches) long.

The female Brazilian spiders can get pretty big, reaching up to 15 centimeters (5.9 inches) in length. On the other hand, the males are smaller, usually measuring around 7 centimeters (2.8 inches). They usually weigh up to 0.21 ounces.

They have long, slender legs, and even though some other spiders with different names might have longer legs, the Phoneutria spiders are champions when it comes to having the longest bodies and being the heaviest in their spider gang.

The spider’s body has two main parts. The first is the prosoma, kind of like its “head,” where you will find all eight legs, eyes, fangs (chelicera), and little multitasking arms (pedipalps).

The second part is the opisthosoma, holding the spinnerets for making silk, the back end opening (anal opening), “the lungs,” the heart, and the important bits for making baby spiders (reproductive organs).

So, the prosoma is like the front control center, and the opisthosoma is like the back office, handling things like silk-making and baby-making.

Brazilian spiders come in different colors, with most being hairy and shades of brown and gray. Some species may have lightly colored spots on their abdomen.

A distinctive feature of many species is the presence of bands of black and yellow or white on the underside of their two front legs.


To identify a spider from the Phoneutria group, look for a dense brush of fine hairs on their leg parts. They might seem like other spiders, especially  Cupiennius , but here is how you can differentiate: 

  • Phoneutria often have a dark line on the front of their palps and a thin black line on top of their head. 
  • Check underneath, too; their legs usually have dark parts and light joints. Sometimes, the belly has black dots or is reddish. 
  • Usually it has been observed that when they are upset, they do a cool defensive move like lifting their front legs high with a distinctive pattern. So, if you see a spider doing that dance, it is probably a Phoneutria!

Brazilian Wandering Spiders live all over the Americas, from Costa Rica to northern Argentina. They are like the residents of the jungle, chilling in forests east of the Andes in countries like Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and the Guianas.

Some, like P. reidyi, P. boliviensis, and P. fera, love the Amazon rainforest, while others prefer the Atlantic Forest in Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil.

They have also made themselves at home in the Cerrado savanna. But if you head to northeastern Brazil, they are not around. These spiders have even taken trips to Chile and Uruguay.

Why are they called Banana Spiders?

These spiders are linked with bananas. Richard S. Vetter, a researcher at the University of California, found that these powerful spiders sometimes end up in North America and Europe by accident, hitching a ride in banana shipments.

Banana Spider sitting on banana leaf - Spiders Planet

But it is often a case of mistaken identity. Only a few Phoneutria species have been found in banana shipments, and sometimes, other spiders get the blame due to misidentification. 

What They Like to Eat or Hunt?

Their food includes flies, beetles, butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, locusts, and crickets. Occasionally, they might even feast on small creatures like amphibians, reptiles, or mice. All these diet or food findings tell us about how diversified eating habits these fascinating spiders have.

Mating and Lifecycle:

Like most spiders, the female spiders are bigger than the males. When the male spider wants to be friends, they do a little dance (vibrating his pedipalps and specialized sensory appendages) to signal his intentions to impress the female, but it is a cautious approach.

The behavior of the female can be choosy, and she might say no to a few before picking the right one. 

After the dance, sometimes, the females decide to attack them, or if she is interested, she can store the male’s baby-making material in a special place until she is ready to use it.

Then, she lays a bunch of eggs, up to 1,000 at a time, and keeps them safe in a silk egg sac. Sadly, after laying her eggs, the mom spider says goodbye. It is her way of making sure the new spiders are ready to explore the world on their own.

The lifespan of the banana spider (Phoneutria nigriventer) differs for males and females. Females usually live for 6 to 8 weeks after reaching maturity, while males have a shorter lifespan of 2 to 3 weeks after their last molt. 

Certain mammals, like coatis (Procyonidae, which includes raccoons) and other small insectivores, birds are potential predators of large wandering spiders.

These spiders got their name as wandering spiders because of the fact that they are not into web building. Instead, they stroll around the forest floor at night(nocturnal), searching for dinner.

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are active hunters and use both ambush tactics and direct attacks to catch their prey. During the day, they prefer cozy spots like under logs or in crevices, only emerging at night for their hunting adventures. These spiders do not build nests like other spider species.

While wandering spiders are not naturally aggressive towards humans, they won’t hesitate to bite if they feel cornered or threatened. Most bites happen when a spider accidentally gets trapped in clothing or bedding. 

Bite and Venom:

The bite of the armed spider is the most dangerous in the world as the venom it carries can be harmful to humans.

The danger is not just about how strong the venom is; it is also about factors like the spider’s likelihood to bite and how close it is to where people live.

These spiders often hide in houses, clothes, and other dark places during the day, making accidental bites more likely. 

While their fangs are adapted for small prey, some experts think they might give a “dry” bite in defense to save venom. Studies suggest that not all bites inject venom, and serious cases requiring antivenom are rare.

However, there have been confirmed cases of death, with symptoms appearing quickly, including:

  • Severe pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • In severe cases, paralysis and death

The severity can depend on the spider’s sex, with females generally more dangerous. The spiders produce less venom in colder months, and a small amount can be potent enough to harm.

Fortunately, bites from Brazilian spiders are rare, and when they do occur, the exposure to the toxins is generally mild, as explained by Vetter.

Also Read: What is a Huntsman Spider? (Heteropodidae) – The Ultimate Guide

Banana Spider’s Facts:

Below are essential details about Brazilian wandering spiders:

  • They hold the title for the world’s largest spiders , boasting leg spans reaching up to 15 centimeters (6 inches).
  • Their venom packs a powerful punch, capable of inducing severe pain, paralysis, and, in extreme cases, fatal outcomes for humans.
  • Despite their intimidating reputation, they are generally non-aggressive and resort to biting only when provoked.
  • These spiders inhabit tropical rainforests and urban areas across Central and South America.
  • In case someone has been bitten by this spider, he/she needs quick medical treatment to control the effects timely.

Brazilian Wandering Spider sitting on wood -Spiders Planet

Treatment and Preventive Measures:

If bitten by a wandering spider or armed spiders, prompt medical attention is crucial. There is an antivenom for the spider’s venom, but its effectiveness is highest when administered within a few hours of the bite.

To prevent a bite:

  • Wear protective clothing, use shoes and long pants when in areas where these spiders are found.
  • Before wearing your clothes and shoes, make sure to check them to ensure no spiders are hiding.
  • Maintain cleanliness and avoid leaving food or garbage exposed, as this can attract spiders.

These preventive measures are essential for minimizing the risk of encountering and getting bitten by Banana spiders.

Can Brazilian spiders kill humans?

Brazilian wandering spiders (Phoneutria nigriventer) are venomous and can potentially kill a human with a single bite. Their venom contains a potent neurotoxin that can cause severe pain, paralysis, and even death. 

Are Brazilian spiders poisonous?

Yes the venom of this spider is poisonous, that can cause death. While Brazilian wandering spiders are potentially dangerous, actual bites are relatively rare.

By adopting preventive measures and promptly seeking medical attention if bitten, the risk of serious complications can be significantly reduced.

Can you keep Brazilian spiders as pets?

It is strongly advised against keeping wandering spiders as pets due to their venomous nature and the potential risk to human safety.

Managing these spiders in captivity demands specialized knowledge and handling procedures to minimize the risk of bites.

Final Thoughts:

The Brazilian wandering spider, banana spider, or armed spider is a large and venomous arachnid found in Central and South America. While their potent venom can be harmful to humans, encounters are rare.

These nocturnal hunters have adopted various habitats, from rainforests to urban areas, and are associated with banana shipments. Understanding their appearance, behavior, and habitat is crucial for minimizing risks.

Seeking immediate medical attention after a bite is essential, as antivenom is available but most effective when administered promptly. Despite their fearsome reputation, the Brazilian spider remains a captivating and potentially dangerous species.

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  • Spider Facts

Brazilian Wandering Spider: Size, Bite, Diet and Other Facts 

Brazilian Wandering Spider

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is a venomous arachnid with a fearsome reputation. This South American rainforest dweller packs a powerful punch, but don’t let its nickname “banana spider” fool you – they’re active hunters, not web-spinners. Despite their size and venom, bites are uncommon as they’re typically shy.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider has garnered significant attention due to its potent venom, which makes it one of the world’s most venomous spiders. Understanding its biology and behavior is crucial for both scientific research and public safety.

Scientific classification

The Brazilian Wandering Spider belongs to the family Ctenidae within the order Araneae. Its scientific classification is as follows:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Family: Ctenidae
  • Genus: Phoneutria

The Brazilian Wandering Spider goes by various common names, including “armed spider,” “banana spider,” and “wandering spider.” Synonyms for this species may include Ctenus , which was formerly used for some Phoneutria species.

Distribution and habitat


  • South American:  Found throughout most of South America east of the Andes mountains, including countries like Brazil (their namesake), Argentina, Paraguay, and up into northern regions.
  • Central American Touch:  A few species even reach southern Central America.
  • Rainforest Dwellers:  Primarily found in the lush rainforests of South America.
  • Not Picky Places:  They can also adapt to other habitats like the Atlantic Forest and even some urban areas.
  • Daytime Hideouts:  While they wander at night, they seek shelter during the day in places like termite mounds, under rocks, or even (unintentionally) in bananas!

Physical Characteristics

 size and weight.

The Brazilian wandering spider is a creepy crawly giant. Their bodies can grow up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) long, but that’s not the scary part. Their legs can span a whopping 7 inches (18 cm), making them look even bigger. They are one of the biggest true spiders by body weight and size.

Despite their impressive leg span, Brazilian wandering spiders are relatively light. They only weigh around 6 grams, which is about the same as two pennies. While they might look imposing, they’re not the heaviest arachnids around.

Coloration and markings

These spiders exhibit a range of colors, including brown, black, and sometimes reddish hues. They often have distinctive markings on their bodies, which can vary between species. These markings may include stripes or patterns that serve as a key identification feature.

Notable features

One of the most notable features of the Brazilian Wandering Spider is its elongated, robust body and long, agile legs. They have sharp fangs, which they use to inject venom into their prey or in self-defense.

Sexual dimorphism

Sexual dimorphism is evident in this species. Females are larger and bulkier than males, while males have longer, more slender legs. Additionally, males possess specialized structures known as pedipalps, which are used during mating.

In the following sections of this article, we will delve deeper into the behavior, venom, and ecological role of the Brazilian Wandering Spider, shedding light on why this species has both fascinated and instilled fear in those who encounter it.

 Behavior and Ecology

wandering spider range

 Nocturnal habits

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are primarily nocturnal creatures. They are most active during the night, venturing out of their daytime hiding places to hunt for prey and engage in mating activities. Their nighttime activity allows them to avoid predators and reduce the risk of desiccation in the hot tropical sun.

Hunting and feeding behavior

These spiders are agile hunters and primarily feed on insects, small vertebrates, and other arachnids. They do not build webs to capture prey but instead rely on their excellent senses, including acute vision and touch, to locate and stalk their victims. They often wander in search of food and are known for their swift and lethal strikes. Once they subdue their prey, they inject venom to immobilize it before feeding.

Brazilian Wandering Spiders (Phoneutria) are active hunters and have distinctive feeding behaviors. Here’s an overview of their feeding habits:

  • Active Predators: Brazilian Wandering Spiders are not web-builders like many other spider species. Instead, they are active predators. They actively roam their environment in search of prey rather than waiting for insects to stumble into a web.
  • Hunting Strategy: When hunting, these spiders use their excellent senses, including acute vision and touch, to locate potential prey. They are known for their agility and speed, which they use to stalk and capture their victims. They have sharp fangs, which they use to deliver a venomous bite to immobilize their prey.
  • Diet: Their diet consists primarily of insects and other arthropods, but they are opportunistic feeders and may consume a variety of small creatures, including small vertebrates such as frogs and lizards when the opportunity arises.
  • Venom Use: Brazilian Wandering Spiders inject venom into their prey to immobilize and partially digest it. Their venom contains neurotoxins that affect the nervous system of their victims. Once the prey is incapacitated, the spider can feed on it at its leisure.
  • Feeding Process: After subduing their prey with a venomous bite, the spider uses its chelicerae (fangs) to break down the prey’s tissues. The venom also helps in predigestion, turning the prey’s insides into a semi-liquid form that the spider can ingest. They can consume both the internal fluids and solid parts of their prey.
  • Frequency of Feeding: The frequency of feeding can vary depending on factors such as the availability of prey and the spider’s size. Generally, they need to feed periodically to sustain their energy and growth. Spiderlings may require more frequent meals to support their rapid growth, while adults can go longer periods between meals.

Overall, the Brazilian Wandering Spider’s feeding strategy is well-suited for their active and wandering lifestyle, allowing them to efficiently capture and consume a variety of prey in their natural habitat.

Role in the ecosystem

The Brazilian Wandering Spider plays a vital role in controlling insect populations within its habitat. By preying on a variety of insects and other small creatures, they help maintain ecological balance. Additionally, their presence in the rainforest ecosystem contributes to the overall biodiversity and food web.

Mating and reproduction

Mating in Brazilian Wandering Spiders is a complex and potentially dangerous process. Male spiders must carefully approach and court a receptive female to avoid being mistaken for prey. They use specialized pedipalps to transfer sperm to the female’s reproductive organs. After successful mating, females lay egg sacs containing hundreds of eggs. They guard these sacs and ensure the survival of their offspring until they hatch.

 Lifespan and growth

The lifespan of Brazilian Wandering Spiders varies between males and females. Males generally have a shorter lifespan, typically living for a few months to a year after reaching maturity. Females, on the other hand, can live for several years. The growth of these spiders involves a series of molts, during which they shed their exoskeletons to accommodate their increasing size. Molting is a vulnerable period in their lives as their new exoskeleton is initially soft and requires time to harden.

Venom and Envenomation

Composition of venom.

The venom of Brazilian Wandering Spiders is a complex mixture of neurotoxins, cytotoxins, and other enzymes. One of the most significant components is a neurotoxin called PhTx3, which targets the nervous system of their prey.

Toxicity and effects on humans

The venom of these spiders is highly potent and can be lethal to their prey. In humans, envenomation can cause a range of symptoms, including intense pain, muscle cramps, fever, nausea, and in severe cases, paralysis and death. It’s important to note that while their venom is potent, actual fatalities from Brazilian Wandering Spider bites are rare due to the availability of medical treatment.

First aid and medical treatment

In the event of a Brazilian Wandering Spider bite, immediate medical attention is crucial. First aid measures may include cleaning the wound and applying ice to reduce pain and swelling. However, the primary treatment involves antivenom, which can counteract the effects of the spider’s venom.

Cases of envenomation and fatalities

Although fatalities from Brazilian Wandering Spider bites are uncommon, there have been documented cases of severe envenomation, especially in regions where medical treatment is not readily available. These spiders are generally non-aggressive and will bite humans only in self-defense when provoked, or if they feel cornered.

Understanding the behavior, ecology, and venomous nature of the Brazilian Wandering Spider is crucial for both scientific research and public awareness, helping to minimize the risk of envenomation and promote coexistence with this remarkable but potentially dangerous arachnid.

Brazilian wandering spider life cycle

The Brazilian wandering spider has a fascinating life cycle that revolves around hunting and motherhood. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Egg Haven:  After mating, the female lays hundreds, sometimes even a thousand, eggs in a silken sac. This becomes their protected nursery.
  • Tiny Terrors:  Hatching from the eggs emerge translucent spiderlings called larvae.
  • Nymph Stage:  The larvae molt a few times, transforming into nymphs. Think of them as mini-adults but without the ability to reproduce yet.
  • Shedding for Size:  As nymphs grow, they undergo multiple molts, shedding their outer shell to accommodate their larger bodies.
  • Ready to Roam:  After the final molt, the spider emerges as a full-fledged adult, complete with reproductive organs. Now, they can join the wandering lifestyle and continue the cycle.

The life cycle begins when a female Brazilian Wandering Spider lays her eggs. She typically creates an egg sac made of silk and deposits it in a concealed location, such as a tree hollow or leaf litter. Inside the sac, she may lay hundreds of eggs. The female guards the egg sac and ensures its protection until the spiderlings hatch. The duration of the egg stage varies depending on environmental conditions but generally lasts for a few weeks.

Spiderling Stage

After the incubation period, spiderlings (young spiders) emerge from the egg sac. They are extremely vulnerable at this stage and rely on their mother’s protection and guidance. Spiderlings are miniature versions of adult spiders but lack the full coloration and size. They disperse from the nest once they have molted and are capable of hunting on their own. During this stage, they grow rapidly by molting, shedding their exoskeletons to accommodate their increasing size.

Juvenile Stage

As spiderlings continue to molt and grow, they progress into the juvenile stage. During this phase, their coloration becomes more distinct, and they start to develop the characteristic features of adult Brazilian Wandering Spiders. They become increasingly independent and begin to exhibit hunting behaviors. The duration of the juvenile stage can vary but often lasts several months.

Sub-Adult Stage

The sub-adult stage is an intermediate phase between juvenile and adult. At this point, the spiders are closer in size and appearance to adults but have not yet reached sexual maturity. They continue to molt, with the frequency of molting gradually decreasing as they approach adulthood. Sub-adult spiders may exhibit more territorial behaviors as they compete for resources and prepare for eventual mating.

Adult Stage

Upon reaching sexual maturity, Brazilian Wandering Spiders enter the adult stage. This is when they are fully developed and capable of reproduction. Females are larger and bulkier than males, and males possess specialized structures called pedipalps, which they use during mating. Adult spiders engage in mating activities, and females lay eggs to continue the life cycle. Adult Brazilian Wandering Spiders can live for several years, with females typically having longer lifespans than males.

Understanding the life cycle of these spiders is essential for studying their behavior, reproductive biology, and population dynamics. It also provides insights into their adaptation strategies in the complex ecosystems of South and Central America.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Bite

Brazilian Wandering Spider Bites

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are known for their potent venom and, occasionally, their bites on humans. While bites are relatively rare due to the spider’s non-aggressive nature, understanding the consequences of a bite is crucial for public safety.

Studying Brazilian Wandering Spider bites is of great interest for several reasons. It helps healthcare professionals provide appropriate medical treatment, raises awareness among communities in spider habitats, and contributes to our understanding of venomous arachnid envenomations.

The venom of Brazilian Wandering Spiders is a complex mixture of neurotoxins, cytotoxins, and enzymes. It contains various components, including PhTx3, which is a potent neurotoxin affecting the nervous system.

Brazilian Wandering Spider bites can have a range of effects on the human body, including intense pain, muscle cramps, fever, nausea, and in severe cases, paralysis. The severity of the symptoms depends on factors such as the amount of venom injected and the individual’s sensitivity to the venom. There are several types of spider bites .

Symptoms of a Brazilian Wandering Spider Bite

Local symptoms

  • Intense pain
  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Formation of blisters or lesions

Systemic symptoms

  • Muscle cramps and spasms
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Respiratory distress

Severity and variations

The severity of Brazilian Wandering Spider bite symptoms can vary widely. In some cases, symptoms may be mild and resolve on their own, while in severe envenomations, life-threatening complications can occur. Individual reactions to the venom can also vary, making it challenging to predict the exact outcome of a bite.

First Aid and Immediate Response

Steps to take after a bite

Immediate response to a Brazilian Wandering Spider bite should include:

  • – Washing the bite area with soap and water.
  • – Applying a clean, cool compress to reduce pain and swelling.
  • – Immobilizing the affected limb or area.
  • – Keeping the bite victim calm to prevent an elevated heart rate.

Do’s and don’ts in case of a bite

  • – Seek medical attention promptly.
  • – Take note of the spider’s appearance (if possible) to aid identification.
  • – Keep the bite victim still and calm to reduce the spread of venom.
  • – Do not try to suck out venom or make incisions at the bite site.
  • – Avoid applying tourniquets.
  • – Don’t use ice directly on the skin as it can worsen tissue damage.

Seeking medical attention

Medical attention is essential after a Brazilian Wandering Spider bite, even if symptoms appear mild initially. Antivenom is available and can be administered to counteract the effects of the venom. Medical professionals can also manage symptoms and monitor for potential complications.

Complications and Long-Term Effects

Potential complications

Complications from Brazilian Wandering Spider bites can include:

  • – Severe muscle spasms
  • – Respiratory distress
  • – Cardiovascular issues
  • – Kidney failure (rare)
  • – Allergic reactions to antivenom

Long-term consequences

Long-term consequences of a bite can vary depending on the severity and medical treatment received. Some individuals may experience lingering pain, muscle weakness, or psychological trauma following a severe envenomation.

Recovery and rehabilitation

Recovery from a Brazilian Wandering Spider bite typically involves medical treatment, rehabilitation for muscle and nerve damage, and psychological support for individuals affected by the experience. Rehabilitation may include physical therapy to regain muscle strength and function. Prompt medical attention and appropriate care are crucial for minimizing long-term effects and complications.

Facts of Brazilian Wanding Spider

Here are 10 creepy crawly facts about the Brazilian Wandering Spider:

  • Big and Hairy:  These spiders are giants! Their bodies can grow up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) long, with a leg span of up to 7 inches (18 cm). They are covered in hairs, making them appear even bigger.
  • Wanderlust:  They are aptly named – Brazilian wandering spiders don’t spin webs. Instead, they wander the forest floor at night in search of prey.
  • Venomous Bite:  Their venom is considered one of the most potent among spiders. A bite can cause severe pain, swelling, sweating, nausea, and even priapism in males. Thankfully, bites are rare as they are typically shy and defensive.
  • Not So Fond of Bananas:  While sometimes called ‘banana spiders,’ they are not typically found in bananas. They might, however, take shelter in them during transport, which is how they might end up in a faraway land.
  • Rainforest Resident:  These spiders are native to the rainforests of South America, particularly in Brazil.
  • Fearsome Feasters:  They’re active hunters and will eat almost anything they can overpower, including insects, lizards, frogs, and even small rodents.
  • Mom’s the Word:  Female Brazilian wandering spiders are dedicated mothers. They lay hundreds of eggs in a silken sac and fiercely guard them until they hatch.
  • Multiple Molts:  Like all spiders, Brazilian wandering spiders grow through molting. They shed their exoskeleton multiple times as they grow into adults.
  • Mating Dance:  Male Brazilian wandering spiders perform a elaborate mating dance to attract a female.
  • Medicinal Potential:  Despite their scary reputation, the venom of the Brazilian wandering spider is being studied for its potential use in treating erectile dysfunction.

What happens if a Brazilian Wandering Spider bites a man?

A Brazilian Wandering Spider bite on a man can cause a range of symptoms, some severe:

  • Pain:  The bite is known for causing intense, localized pain at the site.
  • Autonomic effects:  Sweating, nausea, and increased heart rate are common.
  • Priapism:  In some cases, males may experience a prolonged and painful erection (priapism). This is due to a component in the venom.
  • Muscle paralysis:  Severe bites can lead to muscle paralysis, which can affect breathing in rare cases.

However, it’s important to remember:

  • Bites are uncommon as these spiders are typically shy and defensive.
  • Antivenom is available and effective in treating bites.

If bitten, seek medical attention immediately. Early treatment can help prevent complications and ensure a full recovery.

How poisonous is a Brazilian Wandering Spider?

Brazilian Wandering Spider packs a nasty venomous punch, considered one of the strongest among spiders. Bites are rare though, as they’re shy and prefer to escape trouble.

What is the world’s deadliest spider?

The term “deadliest” can be subjective and depends on how one defines it (e.g., based on venom potency or human fatalities). However, the Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria) is often considered one of the most venomous spiders in the world. Another spider often mentioned in discussions of venom toxicity is the Sydney Funnel-web Spider (Atrax robustus and Atrax formosus), found in Australia. These spiders are known for their potent venom and have caused fatalities in the past.

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7 Facts About The Brazilian Wandering Spider Living in Florida has its perks—sunshine, beautiful beaches, and a tropical atmosphere. However, it also comes with its fair share of surprises. Recently, I had an unexpected visitor in my home that sent shivers down my spine—a Brazilian Wandering Spider. As I navigated through this unnerving encounter, I delved into understanding this intriguing arachnid and unearthed seven fascinating facts about the Brazilian Wandering Spider. Unexpected Visitor: Imagine my surprise when, living in sunny Florida, I found myself face to face with a Brazilian Wandering Spider. This eight-legged visitor wasn't your typical household spider—it was a creature straight out of a wildlife documentary. With a leg span that seemed to stretch for miles and those unmistakable red fangs, it was a sight that sent shivers down my spine. Intimidating Fangs: The first thing that caught my eye were those red chelicerae, poised and ready for action on its abdomen. It was like a warning sign that I had an unwelcome guest in my home. I couldn't help but marvel at the sheer size and agility of this arachnid as it gracefully moved along the walls of my living room. Venomous Trepidation: As I observed from a safe distance, the realization hit me—the Brazilian Wandering Spider is known for its venomous bite. The mere thought of those potent neurotoxins coursing through my veins was enough to send a chill down my spine. I quickly decided that this was not a creature to be dealt with lightly. No Webs, Just Wanderers: Unlike the common house spiders that spin intricate webs in corners, this spider was a wanderer. True to its name, the Brazilian Wandering Spider doesn't bother with the whole web-building routine. Instead, it actively roams around, and that's probably how it ended up in my living room in the first place. Aggressive Standoff: As I mustered the courage to guide it out of the house, I was met with an unexpected display of aggression. The spider raised its front legs, showcasing those fearsome fangs, and warned me not to underestimate its capabilities. It was a standoff between a curious human and a defensive arachnid. Out-of-Place in Florida: Living in Florida, encountering exotic wildlife isn't unheard of, but a Brazilian Wandering Spider was certainly unexpected. These creatures are native to the rainforests of South America, so how did one end up in my Sunshine State abode? The mystery behind their presence outside their natural habitat adds an extra layer of intrigue to the encounter. Maternal Instincts: As I cautiously observed the spider, I couldn't help but wonder about its life cycle. Learning that the females exhibit maternal care by creating silk sacs to protect their eggs was both surprising and fascinating. It added a touch of complexity to this creature that, moments ago, I saw as nothing more than a potential threat. My Personal Encounter It was a typical evening in my Florida home when I stumbled upon this eight-legged visitor. Startled, I cautiously observed its intricate movements as it traversed the walls of my living room. The distinctive red fangs immediately caught my attention, triggering a mix of fascination and concern. Unsure of how to handle the situation, I decided to document the encounter and seek professional assistance. Aggressive Defensive Posture When confronted, the Brazilian Wandering Spider doesn't shy away from displaying its aggressive defensive posture. My attempt to gently guide it out of the house was met with an intimidating display—raised front legs, exposing those red fangs, and a readiness to strike if I posed a threat. It was a reminder of the potential danger these spiders pose and the importance of handling them with care. Reproduction and Maternal Care One surprising fact about the Brazilian Wandering Spider is its unique approach to reproduction. The female constructs a silk sac to protect her eggs and carries it with her. Unlike many spider species, the mother doesn't abandon her eggs but actively guards and cares for them. Witnessing this maternal instinct adds a layer of complexity to the creature that goes beyond its fearsome reputation. Importance of Professional Assistance Given the potential dangers associated with the Brazilian Wandering Spider, seeking professional assistance is crucial when encountering one in your home. I promptly contacted local pest control services that specialize in handling venomous spiders. Their expertise ensured the spider was safely removed without posing a threat to me or my household. Conclusion Encountering a Brazilian Wandering Spider in my Florida home was undoubtedly an unexpected and nerve-wracking experience. However, it opened the door to a deeper understanding of these fascinating arachnids. From their distinctive appearance to the potent venom they carry, the Brazilian Wandering Spider remains a creature worthy of both caution and appreciation. As I bid farewell to my unexpected guest, I couldn't help but marvel at the intricate world of nature that often finds its way into our daily lives, even in the most unexpected places.

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Brazilian wandering spider: Where are they from and how deadly are they?

One was found in a bunch of supermarket bananas in london, article bookmarked.

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A Brazilian wandering spider

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The world’s most venomous spider has been delivered to a south London home in a bunch of bananas.

Specialists were called in to trap the Brazilian wandering spider, which ripped its leg off in a bid to escape and left an egg sac full of thousands of baby spiders behind.

The family who received the deadly arachnid in their Waitrose online shop told the Mail on Sunday they were “too traumatised to remain in the house”, while the supermarket apologised for the “distressing” incident.

It was not the first time a Brazilian wandering spider made the long journey to the UK.

In 2005, a chef in Somerset was bitten by a stowaway that had been hiding in bananas delivered to his pub.

He was saved by anti-venom administered after a nearby zoo identified the arachnid from a picture he took on his phone before passing out.

The spiders and their eggs have also been found in bananas from a Tesco in Essex and One Stop in Staffordshire.

Where are they from?

Fortunately, it is very rare to find Brazilian wandering spiders in the UK or anywhere outside their natural habitat in South America.

They live in the forests of Costa Rica, Columbia, Peru, Brazil, and Paraguay and gain their name from the habit of moving across jungle floors at night in search of food.

In the day, they like hiding in places that are dark and moist and are known to favour piles of wood, garages, cupboards, shoes and even heaps of clothes.

The apparent tendency to hide in banana bunches – like in the latest incident – has given them the nickname “banana spider”.

Their scientific name translates as “murderess” in Greek and they are also known as the “armed spider”, because of their unusual attacking stance, and “horse stinger”.

How deadly is it?

The Guinness Book of World Records has named it the most venomous spider in the world for possessing the most active neurotoxic venom of any living spider.

The toxin PhTx3 causes extreme pain, swelling, paralysis, skin cell destruction, fatal breathing complications, heart attacks and painful erections (priapism) in men lasting up to four-hours.

Victims of a Brazilian wandering spider bite can reportedly be killed in an hour.

But few deaths occur because an effective anti-venom is available in Brazil and Guinness claims that people are killed, it is usually in children under the age of seven.

Scientists have reportedly considered investigating the use of the deadly venom as a possible ingredient for drugs treating erectile dysfunction.

What do Brazilian wandering spiders look like?

There are eight known species, with the most dangerous being the Phoneutria fera and the Phoneutria nigriventer.

All vary slightly in appearance but are known for their size, with a leg span of up to 15 cm (6 ins) and body length of up to 5 cm (2 ins).

They are covered with hair and usually dark brown in colour, with some displaying bright red hairs on their venom glands.

When Brazilian wandering spiders feel threatened, they adopt a distinctive “attacking” stance with their front legs in the air, swaying from side to side.

How do they attack?

The spiders use bites as their main form of attack but do not always deliver venom, using it only in an estimated third of bites.

They eat insects and small mammals, including other spiders, amphibians, reptiles and mice, hunting them on the ground and killing with an ambush or direct attack.

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Southeastern Wandering Spider (Anahita punctulata )

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the southeastern wandering spider.

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The tropical Southeastern Wandering Spider is an active hunter, making the most of a warm climate teeming with insect prey.

General characteristics.

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Taxonomic Hierarchy

Identifying information.

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Relative Size Comparison

wandering spider range

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The wandering spider - Found in many of South America’s rainforests

The Brazilian wandering spider is the commonly used generic term for what is in fact a family of eight different species, found in the rainforests of the Americas all the way from Costa Rica to Argentina, including Peru.

Also known as the “armed” or “banana” spider (for its alarming habit of finding its way into shipments of bananas), this fearsome creature is called the “wandering spider” because instead of building a web and laying in wait for its prey, species of the Phoneutria genus prefer to go in search of their victims.

Phoneutria means “murderess” in Greek, and these spiders certainly live up to their reputation as the deadliest arachnids in the world.  The best known member of the Phoneutria genus is Phoneutria nigriventer , because it is frequently found near human settlements and is therefore the species of wandering spider which most often comes into contact with people.  Along with Phoneutria fera, this is the species most closely associated with the widely used common name “Brazilian wandering spider” . Two other species of the genus Phoneutria live in the rainforests of Peru’s Tambopata National Reserve .

While the Brazilian wandering spider has even been included in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s most venomous spider”, very few substantiated reports have been received of it biting humans; however, its venom certainly has the potential to kill a human, particularly a child, where no venom antiserum is available for timely treatment of the victim.

The venom of the deadliest species of the Phoneutria genus has been reported as being more lethal than that of the famous black widow spider. They are nocturnal and tend to feed on mice, small lizards, frogs and large insects, and are able to kill such manageable prey with a single bite.

As mentioned, wandering spiders are also known as “banana spiders”. One particularly famous case of these venomous stowaways making it to more northerly climes was widely reported in the British press, when in 2005 a man was bitten in the UK and as a result was hospitalized for several weeks.

Wandering spiders are very large, with some species reported as possessing bodies around five centimeters (two inches) in diameter, and legs up to fifteen centimeters (six inches) long. Their brown tones vary across the eight known species, although all of them are reported as being hairy. In common with other spider species, the female wandering spider is larger than the male, and will often attack and even kill her partner following copulation.

A single fact concerning the bite of the wandering spider is probably most responsible for the intimidating reputation they possess. By working to increase blood flow in victims and disrupt their neuromuscular systems, in addition to cramps, abdominal pain, convulsions and severe burning pain, the chemicals in these spiders’ venom can cause prolonged and painful erections in male humans, and scientists have been researching ways of using wandering spider venom in treatment for erectile dysfunction.

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Southeastern Wandering (Anahita punctulata)

Have you ever heard of Southeastern wandering spiders ? They’re part of the big Ctenidae family and come from the Anahita group. These spiders can be found in various places in America.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Ctenidae
  • Genus: Anahita

Southeastern Wandering Spider

Physical Description and Identification

  • Size: They are between 0.20 inches and 1.56 inches in length, with females larger than males.
  • Color: These spiders have a brown or tan body.
  • Other Characteristic Features: They have long legs like most other wandering spider species.

The eggs are small and round enclosed safely inside a silken sac.


Though sufficient details remain unavailable, they stay with their kin until maturation and then disperse to be on their own.

Like other wandering spiders, this species too does not spin webs but attacks their prey by suddenly attacking them from their hidden den.

Are Southeastern Wandering Spiders Venomous?

Yes, Southeastern wandering spiders do have venom. It helps them catch and eat their food. But for most people, it’s not super dangerous.

Can Southeastern Wandering Spiders Bite?

Sure can! Like many spiders, they might bite if they get scared. It can be a bit painful, but usually, it’s okay. Best to be gentle with them!

Anahita punctulata

Photo Credit: Kathy Hardy

Ecological Importance and Behavior of Southeastern Wandering Spider

Southeastern wandering spiders play an essential role in maintaining the balance of their ecosystems. By preying on small insects, they help control the population of potential pests, contributing to a healthier environment. Their nomadic nature and ambush-hunting tactics showcase their adaptability and resilience, making them fascinating subjects for arachnological studies.

Natural Predators and Prey-Predator Dynamics: In the wild, these spiders face threats from birds, larger spiders, and other predators. The sophisticated dance between predator and prey is a vital aspect of their existence, influencing their behavior, life cycle, and the broader ecological balance.

Relationship with Humans: While encounters with humans are infrequent, it’s crucial to foster a respectful and informed relationship with these spiders. Understanding their role in the ecosystem and acknowledging their generally non-threatening nature helps in demystifying these creatures, paving the way for coexistence and appreciation.

Quick Facts

Did you know.

  • Like most other species of their family, the Southeastern spider also bears a close resemblance to the wolf spiders .

In summary, the Southeastern wandering spiders are a remarkable testament to the adaptability and resilience of arachnids.

Mumpi Ghosh

Other Spiders in this Family

Wandering spiders.

Phoneutria depilata

Phoneutria depilata

Phoneutria Boliviensis

Phoneutria boliviensis

Phoneutria Fera

Phoneutria fera

Phoneutria nigriventer

Phoneutria nigriventer

Anahita punctulata

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This surprisingly huge, cave-dwelling spider is a brand new species

It's probably safe to say that not everyone would be thrilled to come across a massive spider lurking in the darkness of an old mineshaft. But for a collaborative team of North and South American scientists, it was a fantastic discovery: not only was the spider they found unusually large, but it was also a species none of them had ever seen before.


After years of research and peer review, the new arachnid received its official name just last month: Califorctenus cacachilensis , the Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider. It's named for the mountain range where it was discovered in Baja California Sur , Mexico, a part of the world where wandering spiders are quite rare, and not that well understood.

Wandering spiders are fast-moving ground predators that chase after prey rather than trapping it in webbing. Perhaps the most famous of them all is the Brazilian wandering spider, which is notorious for its aggression and dangerous venom. This new spider doesn't seem to be quite as formidable, but it is impressive in size, with an inch-long body and legs stretching four inches across.

"In all my experience over the years collecting spiders on the peninsula, I had never seen a spider this large," said Maria Luisa Jiménez of the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste in Mexico, who led the study of the new species.


The very earliest discovery of the enormous arachnid actually happened back in 2013 – and the spiders weren't even there for it! A research expedition came across an unusual-looking shed exoskeleton in the cracks of a rock overhang. Recognising that this shed belonged to a wandering spider, and knowing that these spiders tend to be nocturnal, the team returned after dark to find the first living representative.

Once the researchers knew what to look for, they were able to find more members of the new species, and to collect live specimens to take back to the lab for study. Most of the spiders were discovered hanging out in the darkness of mineshafts, a fitting substitute for the caves they're probably more accustomed to.

The scientists suspected the spiders were new to science, but confirming that hunch took quite a lot of work. Identifying a new species starts with comparing it to all other related species to make sure.

"Spiders have been named since the 18th century, so you really need to look for all the literature since then," Daniele Polotow of the Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Brazil told me in an email. "The internet is a big ally nowadays, facilitating access to large libraries around the world."


"After you are sure no one before you has named this species," she added, "you can start thinking about how it relates to all other species from the same group." To do this, the researchers compiled a long list of the arachnids' features and generated a "tree of life" to tease out the evolutionary relationships between the various species.

The most famous relative of the Sierra Cacachilas species might be a mean customer, but it seems the new arachnid is not so bad. In fact, one of the expedition scientists, Jim Berrian of the San Diego Natural History Museum , reported via a blog post that he was bitten by one of the spiders without suffering any nasty side effects.

Still, being careful around possibly dangerous study subjects can be tricky. "While dealing with spiders, there is no one-size-fits-all approach," Polotow explained. "I try to be careful and use basic equipment, like long forceps or tweezers, and place [the spiders] in a secure vial."

So far, no one has studied the venom of the new species, so we can't yet be sure of its effects. "But it's always good to keep in mind that most spiders are not aggressive or dangerous [to people]," Polotow added. "There are more than 45,000 spider species in the world and only a few can be a threat to humans."

In most cases, the relationship is quite the opposite: humans are a danger to wildlife. In the case of the Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider, more study will be needed to determine its conservation status, but Michael Wall of the San Diego Natural History Museum notes that at least some of these spiders have been found in the Sierra La Laguna Biosphere Reserve. Wall organised the expedition that originally tracked down the new species. 

"We can't really say much about [this spider's] relative rarity," Wall said, "but we at least know that part of its range includes a protected area."

* In an omission of similarly large proportions, an earlier version of this article neglected to mention the large spider's size. Those elusive dimensions have now been added.

Top header image:  San Diego Natural History Museum

David Moscato

David Moscato

David Moscato is a science communicator, writer and educator with a background in palaeontology. Follow him @DMos150 or on his blog, The Meniscus . VIEW more from this CONTRIBUTOR


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Anahita punctulata (Southeastern Wandering Spider)

Featured spider picture

  • Pictures (8)

Taxonomic Hierarchy

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Suborder: Araneomorphae
  • Family: Ctenidae
  • Genus: Anahita
  • Species: Anahita punctulata

Other Common Names

Southeastern Wandering Spider

(Hentz, 1844)

Primary Colors

Sightings overview.

There have been 8 confirmed sightings of Anahita punctulata (Southeastern Wandering Spider), with the most recent sighting submitted on May 26, 2019 by Spider ID member spiderhater2 . The detailed statistics below may not utilize the complete dataset of 8 sightings because of certain Anahita punctulata sightings reporting incomplete data.

  • Web: 0% of the time, Anahita punctulata spiders are sighted in a spider web (Sample size: 8)
  • Sex:  1 female and 2 male.
  • Environment:   Anahita punctulata has been sighted 3 times outdoors, and 5 times indoors.
  • Outdoors: Man-made structure (1). Ground layer (2).

Location and Range

Anahita punctulata (Southeastern Wandering Spider) has been sighted in the following countries: United States.

Anahita punctulata has also been sighted in the following states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee.


Anahita punctulata has been primarily sighted during the month of May.

Featured Pictures

Picture of Anahita punctulata (Southeastern Wandering Spider) - Male - Dorsal

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What's the Most Venomous Spider in the World?

If Hollywood were a reliable source of scientific information, flying spiders would be an existential threat and the furry tarantula, star of countless horror, sci-fi and adventure flicks, would be a major menace.

But the actual threat level of these arachnids, and which ones get boasting rights — such as the most venomous spider — is another, far less dramatic matter.

Remember, the difference between poisonous and venomous creatures is that venomous ones inject their victims with toxins (like a spider biting its prey) whereas poisonous creatures must be eaten or touched for their toxins to take effect. So, unless you're in the habit of eating arachnids, you don't need to worry about poisonous spiders — just venomous ones.

Sydney Funnel-web Spiders

Although there isn't a definitive answer to what the world's deadliest spider is, experts often place the Sydney funnel-web spider, or Atrax robustus , at the top of the list. This arachnid species bears responsibility for the highest number of bites and human fatalities among all spiders [source: Alcock ].

With fangs strong enough to penetrate finger and toenails, in extreme cases, a funnel-web bite can kill a person in 15 minutes. That's one dangerous spider! However, since the discovery of a funnel-web antivenin in 1980, no one has died from its bite.

As you can infer from its name, the Sydney funnel-web spider is native to Australia, found across a 99-mile (160-kilometer) radius around Sydney [source: Australian Venom Compendium ]. Humans encounter dark-colored Funnel-web spiders mostly during mating seasons in summer and fall, when the males leave their burrows in search of females [source: Australia Museum ].

Behaviorally, funnel-web spiders are more dangerous than black widows or brown recluses because they become aggressive when threatened. If you tried to shoo one away, it's less likely to skitter off. The male funnel-webs are more potentially harmful than females and juvenile spiders — and they're the most likely to attack.

Toxins in Spider Venom

The active ingredient in funnel-web venom is delta-atracotoxin . This amino acid chain is a neurotoxin that causes our nerve cells to continually fire once it enters the bloodstream . That rapid firing sparks intense pain at the bite site that will start within 28 minutes of the actual bite [source: Alcock ].

In general, spider venom affects humans by interacting with ion receptors in our cells [source: Escoubas, Diochot and Corzo ]. When that happens, it unnaturally excites the cells, which can lead to pain and cell dysfunction.

­Brazilian Wandering Spiders

On the other side of the world, the Brazilian wandering spider, or Phoneutria nigriven , often ranks second (below the Sydney funnel-web) as the world's deadliest spider. The 2007 Guinness Book of World Records actually named it the most venomous spider in the world because it's capable of injecting 1 to 2 milligrams of venom in its victims.

You can spot these arachnids (sometimes called banana spiders ) by the red hairs on their necks. Like the funnel-web, the Brazilian wandering spider has aggressive tendencies and is known as a hunting spider.

Black Widows

Statistically, black widow spiders ( Latrodectus mactans ), with their red hourglass calling card, pose more of a threat than brown recluses to humans. These are the most venomous spiders you are likely to encounter in the United States, with a potent venom that is believed to be 15 times more powerful than that of a common rattlesnake.

Still, the dose makes the poison, and most black widow spider bites won't inject enough venom to kill a person.

A useful statistic bears this out: Before doctors discovered antivenin for the widow family of spiders, the mortality rate for bite victims was around only 5 percent. Now, with the antivenin, the rate is even lower [source: Vetter and Visscher ].

That doesn't mean you should go around harassing black widows , but you can view them with a little less fear.

Brown Widows

The brown widow spider ( Latrodectus geometricus ) is somewhat similar in appearance to the black widow, as mature specimens of both have an hourglass-shaped marking on their abdomen. However, the brown widow's coloration can range from a dark brown to tan, and the hourglass is orange, not red.

Brown widows are considered some of the most venomous spiders, due to their venom being twice as poisonous as that of black widows, but they don't inject very much when they bite, and serious complications are even rarer than bites.

Brown Recluse Spiders

In the United States, many people worry unnecessarily about the fangs of the brown recluse ( Loxosceles reclusa ). You can identify brown recluses by the violin-shaped marking on their abdomens. Brown recluse spiders like their privacy, and will gladly avoid human contact, sticking to small, dark places out of the sunlight.

That said, a brown recluse spider can provide a painful bite, and in extreme cases the toxins in their venom can leave you with significant scarring from tissue breakdown. It's possible that the resulting wound could become infected, and that could result in death, but odds are strongly in favor of your survival.

In reality, our arachnophobia -induced aversion to tarantulas is misplaced. The formidable critter's bristly hairs are more likely to irritate than its venom. Although a bite from the passive tarantula will induce topical pain, it won't kill you unless you're highly allergic.

Spiders Aren't a Major Threat

Of the nearly 40,000 known spider species, only a small amount will actually bite humans, and only some of those can inflict any significant harm. In fact, there is no wholly accepted consensus on the world's deadliest spider because, by and large, spiders aren't much of a threat to our well-being.

At the same time, the number of spider bites is often incredibly over-reported.

This occurs at every level: People often misidentify a wound or bite they think was caused by a spider, and even when there's a spider in the vicinity, they often fail to correctly identify the species.

A case in point is the brown recluse spider. In one study of 600 hospital patients claiming to have suffered from a brown recluse spider bite in Southern California, doctors could confirm only 20 percent of the bite wounds as coming from the spider [source: UC Riverside ].

When to Be Concerned About Spiders

That said, we've covered a handful of the most dangerous spiders in the world that would be best to avoid. The overall morbidity rate of venomous spiders remains below 10 percent, but some of their poisons can induce tissue degeneration, cell death, nausea and other unpleasant side effects.

Venomous spiders are equipped with a poison gland that harbors the dangerous chemicals. Those glands are connected to a set of fangs that spiders use to deliver the poison into their victims.

The fangs usually remain tucked inside the spider's jaws until it feels threatened. When that happens, it releases its fangs, digging them into the victim's body and secreting toxins. Not all spider bites are toxic; many spiders give dry bites (without venom) as a warning.

A Respectful Distance Is Wise

Getting bitten by any of these spiders would probably be an unpleasant experience. But today, even the most venomous arachnids with the largest, sharpest fangs don't pose much of a health threat to humans thanks to antivenins.

As a rule of thumb, be careful when you're working in a dark corner of your basement or storage shed. Spiders often don't want to attack, but they'll defend their territory when necessary.

Now That's Surprising Scientists are studying the venom of the Brazilian wandering spider with the goal of developing a new treatment for erectile dysfunction. Men bitten by the spider exhibit symptoms of discomfort such as pain, cold sweats and increased blood pressure — along with penis erections. Studies on lab rats have linked the bizarre effect to a peptide, Tx2-6, in the spider venom [source: Bryner ].

Lots More Information

Alcock, John. "Spider Envenomation, Funnel Web." eMedicine. June 26, 2007. (Oct. 7, 2008)http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/TOPIC548.HTM

Bryner, Jeanna. "Natural Viagra: Spider Bite Causes Erection." LiveScience. May 1, 2007. (Oct. 7, 2008)http://www.livescience.com/health/070501_spider_venom.html

Escoubas, Pierre; Diochot, Sylvie; and Corzo, Gerardo. "Structure and pharmacology of spider venom neurotoxins." Biochemistry. Volume 92. Issues 9-10. Sept. 10, 2000. (Oct. 7, 2008)http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VRJ-431B1CT-C&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=1a57522d4608f4b2fab963b0613cd5d0

"Funnel web spiders." Australian Venom Compendium. Updated June 14, 2006. (Oct. 7, 2008)http://www.avru.org/compendium/biogs/A000003b.htm

"Funnel-web spiders." Australian Museum. (Oct. 7, 2008)http://www.amonline.net.au/factsheets/funnelweb.htm

Meier, Jurg and White, Julian. "Handbook of Clinical Toxicology of Animal Venoms and Poisons." CRC Press. 1995. (Oct. 7, 2008)http://books.google.com/books?id=OvFxypZGPAAC

Richards, Ira S. "Principles and Practices of Toxicology in Public Health." Jones & Bartlett Publishers. 2007. (Oct. 7, 2008)http://books.google.com/books?id=sHxNO8jv5iEC

Vetter, Richard S. and Visscher, P. Kirk. "Bites and stings of medically important venomous arthropods." International Journal of Dermatology. Vol. 37. July 1998. University of California Riverside. (Oct. 7, 2008)http://spiders.ucr.edu/dermatol.html

"World's deadliest spider discovered in Britain nside a box of Tesco bananas." Daily Mail. Sept. 5, 2008. (Oct. 7, 2008)http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1052712/Worlds-deadliest-spider-discovered-Britain-inside-box-Tesco-bananas.html

Original article: What's the Most Venomous Spider in the World?

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  1. Wandering spider

    Wandering spiders (Ctenidae) are a family of spiders that includes the Brazilian wandering spiders.These spiders have a distinctive longitudinal groove on the top-rear of their oval carapace similar to those of the Amaurobiidae. They are highly defensive and venomous nocturnal hunters. Wandering spiders are known to hunt large prey, for example hylid species Dendropsophus branneri.

  2. Wandering Spider Facts: Understanding This Species

    Here are a few more notable characteristics of the Wandering Spider: Females are larger than males, with a body length of up to 1.6 inches (4 cm). They have eight eyes, arranged in two rows, which help them in hunting. The Wandering Spider is primarily found in Central and South America, particularly in Brazil.

  3. Wandering spider

    wandering spider, (family Ctenidae), any member of the family Ctenidae (order Araneida), a small group of large spiders of mainly tropical and subtropical regions, commonly found on foliage and on the ground. Their first two legs are armed with strong bristles on the lower side. Cupiennius salei, found in rainforests in Central and South America, has a characteristic banding pattern on its ...

  4. Brazilian wandering spiders: Bites & other facts

    Bites and venom. Brazilian wandering spiders' venom is a complex cocktail of toxins, proteins and peptides, according to the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany. The venom affects ion ...

  5. Brazilian Wandering Spider

    The Brazilian wandering spider can grow to have a leg span of up to 4 - 5 inches. They are large hairy spindly-looking spiders who have eight eyes, two of which are large. Brazilian wandering spiders are fast-moving spiders, their legs are strong and spiny and they have distinctive red jaws which they display when angered.

  6. Phoneutria

    Phoneutria is a genus of spiders in the family Ctenidae.They are mainly found in northern South America, with one species in Central America. Members of the genus are commonly referred to as Brazilian wandering spiders. Other English names include armed spiders (armadeiras in Brazilian Portuguese) and banana spiders (a name shared with several others).

  7. Phoneutria nigriventer

    Phoneutria nigriventer is a species of medically significant spider in the family Ctenidae, found in the Southern Cone of South America (Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina). Along with other members of the genus, they are often referred to as Brazilian wandering spiders.. Its bite can cause severe symptoms, including increased pulse, blood pressure, and respiratory rate; extraordinary ...

  8. Brazilian Wandering Spider facts

    Brazilian Wandering Spider Size. Being quite large and impressive compared to most arachnids, adult Brazilian Wandering Spiders can reach a leg span of up to 7 inches (18 cm). The body size excluding the legs can be up to 2 inches (5 cm). Their size contributes to their intimidating presence.

  9. The World's Most Venomous Spider: The Brazilian Wandering Spider

    The Amazon rainforest, the most extensive rainforest on Earth, plays an essential role in the Brazilian Wandering Spider's habitat and range. The spider relies heavily on the dense canopy of trees in these rainforests for shelter and protection. The Amazon rainforest also provides the spider with an abundant prey source, including insects ...

  10. Family Ctenidae

    No Taxon (Entelegynae) Family Ctenidae (Wandering Spiders) Numbers. 3 genera & 7 species found in BugGuide's range. Range. All U.S. species are found only in the southern U.S. ( 1) (But ( 2) says that Acanthoctenus has become established in some urban areas of NY, CA, & WA.) Exact distribution for the species below will be added when time permits.

  11. Ctenidae (Wandering Spiders)

    The spider family Ctenidae, commonly known as Wandering Spiders, have been sighted 53 times by contributing members. Based on collected data, the geographic range for Ctenidae includes 11 countries and 7 states in the United States. Ctenidae is most often sighted indoors, and during the month of April.

  12. Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria Nigriventer)

    Brazilian wandering spiders are carnivorous predators that primarily feed on insects, other spiders, and small vertebrates such as lizards and frogs. They have a diverse diet and can consume a wide range of prey, depending on their size and availability. Unlike many other spiders, Brazilian wandering spiders do not spin webs to catch their prey.

  13. Brazilian Wandering Spider: Care, Food, Habitat & Preventions

    What do Brazilian Wandering Spider look like? Size Range: The spiders in the Phoneutria group can get pretty big in size. Their legs can stretch out to be 13 to 18 centimeters (5 to 7 inches) wide, and their bodies can have a range between 17 to 48 millimeters (a little more than half an inch to almost 2 inches) long.

  14. Florida Wandering Spider (Ctenus captiosus) · iNaturalist

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  15. Brazilian Wandering Spider: Size, Bite, Diet and Other Facts

    Brazilian Wandering Spider bites can have a range of effects on the human body, including intense pain, muscle cramps, fever, nausea, and in severe cases, paralysis. The severity of the symptoms depends on factors such as the amount of venom injected and the individual's sensitivity to the venom. There are several types of spider bites.

  16. Brazilian wandering spider: Where are they from and how deadly are

    The world's most venomous spider has been delivered to a south London home in a bunch of bananas.. Specialists were called in to trap the Brazilian wandering spider, which ripped its leg off in ...

  17. Southeastern Wandering Spider

    Wandering spiders are active hunters though, not web-spinners, much like Wolf Spiders, and they attack their prey by ambushing them. They live in burrows on the ground or on plants. They are primarily found in warmer, tropical climates. Most Wandering Spiders found in North America were imported on tropical fruits, like bananas.

  18. The wandering spider

    The Brazilian wandering spider is the commonly used generic term for what is in fact a family of eight different species, found in the rainforests of the Americas all the way from Costa Rica to Argentina, including Peru. Also known as the "armed" or "banana" spider (for its alarming habit of finding its way into shipments of bananas ...

  19. Southeastern Wandering Spider (Anahita punctulata): Facts

    Southeastern wandering spiders play an essential role in maintaining the balance of their ecosystems. By preying on small insects, they help control the population of potential pests, contributing to a healthier environment. Their nomadic nature and ambush-hunting tactics showcase their adaptability and resilience, making them fascinating ...

  20. armed spiders

    Phoneutria spiders have high medical significance because, in addition to having potent venom, some species occur at high densities in and around populated areas within their native range. Outside their native range, they occasionally are imported accidentally in produce shipments originating from Central and South America (Vetter and ...

  21. This surprisingly huge, cave-dwelling spider is a brand new species

    Meet the Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider. After years of research and peer review, the new arachnid received its official name just last month: Califorctenus cacachilensis, the Sierra ...

  22. Anahita punctulata (Southeastern Wandering Spider)

    The spider species Anahita punctulata, commonly known as Southeastern Wandering Spider, belongs to the genus Anahita, in the family Ctenidae.Anahita punctulata spiders have been sighted 8 times by contributing members. Based on collected data, the geographic range for Anahita punctulata includes 1 countries and 4 states in the United States. Anahita punctulata is most often sighted indoors ...

  23. What's the Most Venomous Spider in the World?

    ­Brazilian Wandering Spiders. On the other side of the world, ... However, the brown widow's coloration can range from a dark brown to tan, and the hourglass is orange, not red.

  24. Ctenus captiosus

    Ctenus captiosus, known generally as the Florida false wolf spider or tropical wolf spider, is a species of wandering spider in the family Ctenidae. It is found in the United States., and is one of two species of Ctenidae occurring in Florida. Little is known about the biology of this species. Description