World's Deadliest Spider Found In UK - Everything You Need To Know

World's Deadliest Spider Found In UK - Everything You Need To Know

World's Deadliest Spider Found In UK - Everything You Need To Know

We don't want to make your Monday any worse, but the world's most venomous spider has been found scuttling about a warehouse in the Midlands. 

One of the largest Brazilian wandering spiders ever seen in the UK was discovered by a factory worker at the Tamworth-based factory of Bristan, a shower and tap manufacturer.

Mercifully, the arachnid hadn't taken up permanent residence having been thought to have hitched a ride on a delivery from South America, but that doesn't make the things any less deadly are terrifying. 

Here's everything you need to know about the nightmarish critter:

It holds a deadly Guinness World Record

wandering spider in england

Part of the  Phoneutria  genus (you know the one), the Brazilian wandering spider holds the record for owning the most active neurotoxic venom of any living spider . 

When delivered through its twin fangs it can kill a mouse with just 0.006 mg of the venom. Ordinarily a fairly placid creature it can have spates of "high aggression" when bothered - biting "furiously several times" if they're disturbed by unwitting humans. They won't always deliver their venom in a bite but when they do you can expect up to six hours of pain, followed by paralysis and eventual asphyxiation.

Thankfully there is an antivenom available that has culled the amount of deaths resulting from their bites. Since 1926 there have only been 14 reported deaths from Wandering Spiders that we're aware of. Still, you wouldn't want to test it.

It could improve your sex life

wandering spider in england

One side effect of the wandering spider's bite in male humans is  priapism  - the bizarre condition in which an erect penis doesn't return to its flaccid state.

Rather than offering up bites from the deadly spider to help fuel a night in the sheets, researchers are tinkering about with the venom in the hope of finding a medical application for its effects , helping men for whom current erectile dysfunction treatments such as Viagra aren't effective. 

It wanders all over the place

wandering spider in england

Commonly found in tropical forests of South America, the 'wandering' aspect of the spider's name comes from its habit of seeking out the darkest hiding spots in which to lurk and be all spidery. As well as popping up in cupboards, clothing and sheds of Brazilian homes around São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo, the spider's common habit of seeking shelter in banana plants has seen it get the nickname "banana spider".

There have also been numerous cases of the spider "wandering" around the globe in batches of Brazilian bananas , arriving in the homes of unwitting British shoppers, although many are more cases of mistaken identity than genuine 8-legged terrors.

They're big

wandering spider in england

With a leg span of 13 to 15 cm and a body of 1.7 to 4.8 cm, the wandering spider is a sizeable beast to stumble across. This does, however, make it easier to avoid - unlike the similarly deadly yet tiny Black Widow. 

They're great dancers

When disturbed, Brazilian wandering spiders often give an impressive-yet-terrifying warning "dance", showing off their colourful underbelly and fangs. 

Great moves.

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Fact Animal

Fact Animal

Facts About Animals

Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts

Brazilian wandering spider profile.

There are more than 50,000 species of spider, and the vast majority are less dangerous than a honeybee. Almost none are aggressive, and of those with medically significant venom, only a small percentage are capable of causing death. So, on the whole, arachnophobes are just being a bit silly.

But there’s one spider that vindicates all of these fears, and few animals are as globally renowned to be a serious threat to human lives as the Brazilian Wandering Spider .

Brazilian Wandering Spiders are actually 9 species of spider in the same genus ‘Phoneutria’, one of which is found in Central America, with the rest in South America.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts

Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts Overview

These spiders are called wandering spiders because of instead of spinning a web to wait for food, or occupying a lair, they spend their night wandering in the leaf litter of the jungle floor for prey.

The sensitive hairs on its body help detect vibrations of passing prey, and it will feed on insects, lizards, frogs and any animals as large as itself.

During the day they will hide under logs, rocks, or inside termite mounds and banana plants. They will also sometimes wander into urban areas and homes, where they can come into contact with humans.

Brazilian wandering spiders are aggressive , dangerous and frightening. For once, this is an animal you should be wary of.

The females are larger, around 50% heavier than males, and produce more venom, and this might be a clue as to why their Greek name translates to “ Mudress” . These spiders will often stand and fight and have an intimidating threat display.

The potency of their venom is one of the reasons they’re so dangerous, and their ability to hide away in fruit and shoes explains why most bites are on extremities.

Interesting Brazilian Wandering Spider Facts

1. armed spiders.

In Brazilian, these are sometimes known as armed spiders, on account of their elongated front legs.

They can convey quite a bit of information with these legs, and as wandering spiders, use them to get about the forest, looking for food.

Brazilian Wandering Spider

2. Banana Spiders

They’re also sometimes called ‘banana spiders’ on account of their status as a stowaway on popular fruit imported from the tropics.

This is becoming less common as stricter regulations ensure there’s less contamination of fruits, but there’s always a chance your next bunch of bananas will have a family of these spiders living inside it.

3. They have the largest venom glands of any spider

Females produce more venom than males, but both sexes have enormous venom glands. These glands are even more impressive when you consider the size of the spider is significantly less than the largest around.

The venom glands of the Brazilian Wandering Spider are over a centimetre long, and this is all housed inside the bright red chelicerae (mouth parts) which they are quick to display whenever they get upset. 1

4. They’re aggressive

These spiders can grow quite large and have long, brightly-coloured legs. Unlike most spiders, they’re known to stand their ground when threatened and are far quicker to bite than many other species.

They’ll still try to scurry away where possible, and they’re not out to get anybody.

But where most other species will flee, the wandering spiders’ aggression does make it more likely to be involved in incidents.

Most bites are on fingers and toes, a sign that they’re being stepped on or grabbed inadvertently. When the spider feels cornered, it’ll rear up on its back legs and waves its colourful arms around as a warning.

Then it’ll sway side to side, beckoning you to have a go. Anything foolhardy enough to call this bluff gets a wealth of envenomation effects. 2 3

Brazilian Wandering Spider threat display with front legs raised

5. They give some men erections

There are ways to accomplish this with fewer side effects, but a bit from a Brazilian wandering spider does come with a certain Viagral quality.

This isn’t as fun as it might sound. Prolonged erections in this manner are likely to harm and destroy muscles and blood vessels in the penis and could cause irreparable damage.

Besides this, the assault on the central nervous system that comes with envenomation by this spider doesn’t sound worth it. 4

6. And some people die

This assault brings with it a whole host of unpleasant symptoms. Seizures, foaming at the mouth, inability to speak, collapse, and a host of other miserable experiences.

Paralysis is possible, as is cardiac shock. Blood vessels can burst in the brain, or anywhere else, and in many cases, this can be enough to kill a person.

This spider has one of the most potent venoms of all, and there are multiple legitimate records of death as a result of bites.

7. But they’re rarely fatal

While the Brazilian wandering spider is potentially one of the most dangerous spiders in the world, there is some evidence to suggest it gives a dry bite, defensively.

This means that despite exceptionally toxic venom, the amount actually injected is less than some of the other contenders, and this is what makes it typically less lethal than the Australian funnel webs.

These spiders are classified as Dangerous Wild Animals and would therefore require a special permit to keep. Bites from wandering spiders are common in South America, but antivenom is often readily available, and they rarely result in death.

In most cases, lethal bites are cases of a very young or very old victim, and few people of healthy age are killed. 5

Banana Spider

8. They do invade the UK sometimes

These unquestionably scary spiders show up in supermarkets in the UK on occasion, having hitched a ride on banana shipments.

On more than one occasion they’ve made their way into shoppers’ homes, but it doesn’t appear that there are any cases of them biting people as a result.

These spiders aren’t suited for temperate climates and don’t survive Winter, so there’s no risk of them multiplying.

Brazilian Wandering Spider Fact-File Summary

Scientific classification, fact sources & references.

  • PeerJ. (2017), “ Dimensions of venom gland of largest venom glands in all spiders ”, Bio Numbers.
  • Dave Clarke (2010), “ Venomous spider found in Waitrose shopping ‘beautiful but aggressive’” , The Guardian.
  • “ Phoneutria Perty (Arachnida: Araneae: Ctenidae) ”, UF-IFAS University of Florida
  • Kátia R.M. Leite (2012), “ Phoneutria nigriventer spider toxin Tx2-6 causes priapism and death: A histopathological investigation in mice ”, Science Direct.
  • “ Brazilian wandering spiders: Bites & other facts ”, Live Science.

Watch CBS News

World's deadliest spider alert closes supermarket in UK

By Ashley Welch

Updated on: June 5, 2015 / 1:49 PM EDT / CBS News

A supermarket was shut down in central England last night after police received an alert involving the world's deadliest spider, the Coventry Telegraph reported.

A family reportedly discovered the eggs of a Brazilian wandering spider in a bag of bananas they bought from the Aldi grocery store in the town of Nuneaton. When they got home, they alerted the police, who shut down the store. The family's home was fumigated, and a search was launched to track down an adult spider that has not yet been found.

Bananas from the store were sent for tests, the paper reported, and efforts were underway try to confirm species of spider.

The Guinness Book of World Records considers the Brazilian wandering spider the most venomous spider in the world, with only 0.006 mg of its venom needed to kill a mouse. Hundreds of bites are reported annually, but a powerful antivenom is available to prevent deaths in most cases. When deaths do occur, they usually happen in young children.

Experts say when the spiders attack, it's really more of a defense mechanism. "Their bites are a means of self-defense and only done if they are provoked intentionally or by accident," Jo-Anne Nina Sewlal, an arachnologist at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad, told Live Science .

If a human is bitten, she said, initial symptoms include severe burning, sweating, and goose bumps followed by high or low blood pressure, nausea, hypothermia , blurred vision, vertigo, and convulsions. To prevent further complications and even death, medical attention should be sought immediately.

In the Nuneaton case, the grocery store has since reopened and the spider eggs were brought to a nearby wildlife sanctuary to be stored.

The incident comes a week after another Brazilian wandering spider was discovered at a warehouse in the nearby town of Tamworth, according to local reports.

In the United States, a Brazilian wandering spider was found lurking in a Whole Foods in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2009, according to CBS affiliate KOTV . No accidents occurred and the store workers handed the spider over to local biologists.

Other types of dangerous spiders have also been known to lurk in fresh fruit. Last week, a 21-year-old woman in Vermont was bitten by a black widow spider when she reached into a bag of grapes . She survived the ordeal. In another case earlier this week, a Minnesota woman reported that she found a juvenile black widow in a bag of grapes she bought at Target.

But before you swear off produce, experts say you should be aware of some common misconceptions about black widow spiders , including that they rarely bite humans.


Ashley Welch covers health and wellness for

More from CBS News

What's That Bug?

Understanding the Wandering Spider: Quick Essential Facts

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 in england

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 in england

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 in england

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 in england

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 in england

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 in england

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. ↩ ↩ ↩ 2 ↩ ↩ 2

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, 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 in england

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 in england

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 in england

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 in england

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 in england

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. 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 .

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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.

8 thoughts on “Understanding the Wandering Spider: Quick Essential Facts”

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: 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.

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..

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.

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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Brazilan wandering spider found in bunch of bananas from Waitrose

Killer spider found in family’s supermarket shopping

A family has been left “deeply traumatised” after one of the world’s most poisonous and aggressive spiders was set loose in their south London home following an online delivery from Waitrose . A lethal Brazilian wandering spider had been hiding in a bunch of bananas when it was delivered to the house, and was sitting on a sac of eggs containing thousands of babies.

The father of the family, Tim, who did not give his surname, spotted the spider while unpacking the shopping and dropped the bananas into the fruit bowl in shock – inadvertently trapping the spider’s leg. The spider tore off its leg in an attempt to escape and hid from sight, sparking a frantic hunt throughout the home as the couple and their two sons, aged seven and eight, fled the house.

“Although people might think these things are funny, I keep thinking that the spider could have killed me or my son if he had gone to get a banana,” Tim told the Mail on Sunday .

Tim took a photograph and discovered online that the spider – whose Greek scientific name translates as “murderess” – was, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the world’s most venomous.

The RSPCA said it could not handle such a dangerous animal and advised the couple to call the police. The police said they could not remove the spider, whose venom can kill in two hours.

Waitrose then sent a pest expert – but when he followed the couple into the kitchen, they found that the spider had ripped off its own leg and had moved out of sight. To make matters worse, when he lifted up the bananas, the family saw a sac containing hundreds of spider eggs.

“We had no idea where it had gone,” said Tim. “‘We were terrified. We got ourselves and our kids out of the house straight away.”

Pest expert Steve Trippett, who described the spider as “hardcore”, put the eggs in a freezer to kill them and, armed with a 3ft stick, found the spider hiding in the fruit bowl. The spider became aggressive standing on its back legs and showing its fangs. But using his stick, Trippett manoeuvred the creature into a heavy plastic box, which was placed inside two other boxes. It is understood the spider was taken to a scientific centre abroad.

The family were too traumatised by their experience to remain in the house, and spent the night with friends.

Waitrose offered the family £150 of shopping vouchers and a family day out in compensation. A spokesperson said: “The safety of our customers is our absolute priority. We did everything we could to look after our customer during what was a distressing incident and we’ve apologised personally. Although this is highly unusual, we’re taking it very seriously and will be working with our supplier to minimise the risk of this happening again.”

Brazilian wandering spider

The Brazilian wandering spider is normally found in the tropical forests of South America, and has caused 14 reported deaths since 1926. At deadly concentrations, its venom causes loss of muscle control and breathing problems, and can result in paralysis and eventual asphyxiation.

Although its venom is highly toxic, it is being studied for use in erectile dysfunction treatments. The spider’s bite can cause an erection that sometimes lasts for up to four hours.

It is not the first time the killer spider has stowed away to Britain – last month a woman in Essex had to incinerate her hoover after finding eggs in bananas she bought from Tesco. In March, a family evacuated their Staffordshire home after finding hundreds of hatchlings, while last November, a Tesco store in Kent had to close for several hours after a Brazilian wandering spider was found under a box of bananas.

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Spiders found in United Kingdom include 41 unique species from confirmed sightings by contributing members of Spider ID. It is important to remember that spiders seen in United Kingdom are not bound by the territorial lines decided on by humans, therefore their distribution is subject to change. Occasionally, spiders can be found well outside of their known range due to being intentionally or accidentally transported by humans in cars, luggage, and other belongings.

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Brazilian wandering spiders: Bites & other facts

The spider's name means "murderess" in Greek, which is appropriate for the deadly arachnid.

A closeup-photo of a Brazilian wandering spider, with orange head and black and white-striped legs


Size & characteristics, bites and venom, additional resources.

The Brazilian wandering spider, also called armed spiders or banana spiders, belongs to the genus Phoneutria , which means "murderess" in Greek. And it's no wonder why — it's one of the most venomous spiders on Earth . Its bite, which delivers neurotoxic venom, can be deadly to humans, especially children, although antivenom makes death unlikely.

Guinness World Records has previously named the Brazilian wandering spider the world's most venomous spider multiple times (though the current record-holder is the Sydney funnel-web spider, Atrax robustus , according to Guinness ). But, as the late Jo-Anne Sewlal, who was an arachnologist at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, told Live Science, "classifying an animal as deadly is controversial," as the amount of damage depends on the amount of venom injected. 

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 beige Brazilian wandering spider crawls toward a green leaf on a forest floor

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.

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, he or she 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.

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 a 2018 study in the journal Clinical Toxinology in Australia, Europe, and Americas . 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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Big hairy spider with ling legs and pale yellow hairs on a green leaf looking at the camera at night.

This is one of the most dangerous spider species in the world.

Image Credit: Dr Morley Read/Shutterstock

Meet the Brazilian wandering spiders in the genus Phoneutria , also referred to as the armed spiders or the banana spiders. The members of this group have one of the most dangerous bites of any spider species on Earth and they have been classified as the world’s most venomous spider many times.

Where Do Brazilian Wandering Spiders Live?

Though currently the Guinness World Record is shared with another species – the Sydney funnel-web, ( Atrax robustus ) – the Brazilian wandering spiders are a force to be reckoned with. 

As the name suggests all the Brazilian wandering spiders can be found in northern South America, with at least one species having distributions across more than just Brazil, writes the University of Florida . However, Phoneutria fera and Phoneutria nigriventer are the main species that feature in news articles as they often travel overseas in shipments of bananas, causing panic and confusion – and even the closure of supermarkets . 

What Is The Size Of A Brazilian Wandering Spider?

The size of the Brazilian wandering spiders varies between species. Some can be very large with a leg span of 18 centimeters (7.1 inches). The spiders are famously quite aggressive, and instead of running from threats will rear up onto their back legs and stand their ground. 

Close up of a big brown spider on a green banana leaf. The face is very clear with four main black eyes the focus.

What Are The Effects Of A Brazilian Wandering Spider Bite?

Brazilian wandering spiders often make the news because of the unusual symptoms caused to humans after being bitten by one. 

A 2023 study in Frontiers In Molecular Biosciences suggested there were around 4,000 cases of people being bitten by Phoneutria nigriventer in Brazil each year. Their venom affects the nervous system, causing double vision, salvation, irregular heartbeat – and even prolonged painful erections, known as priapism . In fact, because of this, their venom is being explored as a possible treatment for erectile dysfunction conditions.

Can A Brazilian Wandering Spider Bite Kill You?

The neurotoxin PhTx3 is to blame for these symptoms, and according to the Independent , a wandering spider bite can reportedly be fatal in as little as 60 minutes. However, an effective anti-venom is usually enough to save those affected. A study into Phoneutria boliviensis in 2019 suggested that the species had adapted its venom to catch vertebrates as opposed to lizards and amphibians, which might explain why the venom is so toxic to humans. 

It comes as no surprise then that their scientific name Phoneutria means “murderess” in Greek. 


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wandering spider in england

Can a Bite From a Brazilian Wandering Spider Cause a Four-Hour Erection?

In many cases, the erection is merely an early warning before the complete shutdown of multiple organ systems., alex kasprak, published aug. 16, 2023.


About this rating

On Aug. 14, 2023, the account First Doctor  posted what it asserted to be an "exclusive" finding on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter:

wandering spider in england

While far from an exclusive — or even a remotely new — finding, the two claims in the tweet were factual. A bite from Phoneutria nigriventer , commonly known as the Brazilian wandering spider, can indeed result in a long-lasting and painful erection, a condition known as priapism when it lasts more than four hours . 

While the toxicity and high risk of death posed by the chemical thought to be responsible for the erections makes its use as a potential erectile dysfunction (ED) therapy challenging, if not literally impossible , it has been used to develop similar chemicals that may have therapeutic potential. 

Phoneutria nigriventer 's erection-causing effects have been known to science since the 1970s. The 1971 book "Venemous Animals and Their Venom" described priapistic effects of this spider's bite on mice and dogs. The authors also included anecdotal reports from humans who had been bitten:

A pattern which resembles that of dog envenomation is also noticed in humans bitten by Phoneutria nigriventer: local unbearable pain, salivation, visual disturbances, sweating, prostration, priapism, and death. 

Research published in 2008 identified the chemical within the venom likely responsible for the erections — a peptide now named PnTx2-6. "[Pn]Tx2-6 enhanced erectile function in [...] rats, via the [Nitrous Oxide] NO pathway," the study reported. "Our studies suggest that [Pn]Tx2-6 could be important for development of new pharmacological agents for treatment of erectile dysfunction."

The interest in this toxin as a treatment for ED stems, in part, because it operates in a completely different way than common ED treatments like Viagra, as reported in 2011 by NBC News:

Viagra, Levitra and other ED drugs on the market work by inhibiting an enzyme called PDE5. To get an erection, a man's body must release nitric oxide, which relaxes the smooth muscle around the arteries of the penis, allowing for his blood vessels to dilate. The nitric oxide is a first step in a series of chemical reactions that allow this muscle relaxation to take place.  One step in the series is cGMP, a signaling molecule that acts to keep the muscles relaxed. PDE5 degrades cGMP. That's a good thing for ensuring that erections don't last forever, but too much PDE5 can mean an erection doesn't happen at all. By blocking the enzyme, PDE5 inhibitors solve the problem. The spider toxin works differently. Instead of affecting PDE5, the compound seems to trigger nitric oxide release, acting directly to relax the smooth muscles. Because about 30 percent of patients don't respond to PDE5 inhibitors, the toxin could provide an alternative to ED treatments currently on the market, [Study author Kenia] Nunes said." 

In 2022, the same research group responsible for identifying PnTx2-6 published a paper arguing, in part, that due to the extreme pain and high toxicity of the chemical, its "therapeutic use is impossible," but that it is "an excellent pharmacological tool for studying erectile function." That study synthesized a new peptide, PnPP-19, based on the toxic original.

Based on studies performed on laboratory mice, PnPP-19 appears to have the potential to cause erections without the pain or toxicity of the spider venom:

This synthetic peptide also potentiates erectile function via NO/cGMP, but it [...] displays nontoxic properties in animals even at high doses. PnPP-19 effectively potentiates erectile function not only after subcutaneous or intravenous administration but also following topical application.

The assertions in First Doctor's post were factual because the priapism caused by Phoneutria nigriventer's bites have been well-documented and well-studied for decades and because the active ingredients in that venom have been used to investigate new ED therapies. As such, we rate the claim as "True."

Bücherl, Wolfgang, and Eleanor E. Buckley. Venomous Animals and Their Venoms: Venomous Invertebrates. Elsevier, 2013.

Nunes, K. P., et al. "Tx2-6 Toxin of the Phoneutria Nigriventer Spider Potentiates Rat Erectile Function." Toxicon : Official Journal of the International Society on Toxinology, vol. 51, no. 7, June 2008, pp. 1197–206. PubMed Central,

Silberman, Michael, et al. "Priapism." StatPearls, StatPearls Publishing, 2023. PubMed,

Silva, Carolina Nunes da, et al. "From the PnTx2-6 Toxin to the PnPP-19 Engineered Peptide: Therapeutic Potential in Erectile Dysfunction, Nociception, and Glaucoma." Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, vol. 9, 2022. Frontiers,

"Spider Venom Shows Promise for Treating Erectile Dysfunction." NBC News, 7 Sept. 2012,  

By Alex Kasprak

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.

Article Tags

'Deadly' Spiders Found In Supermarket Bananas

A British family are forced to leave their home after finding dozens of Brazilian wandering spiders in a bunch of bananas.

Monday 4 November 2013 03:52, UK

Brazilian wandering spider

A mother has spoken of her terror after discovering dozens of the world's deadliest spiders while eating a banana in her London home.

Consi Taylor told The Sun she noticed a strange white spot on the fruit, which she thought was mould.

But she dropped the banana to the floor after discovering dozens of spiders crawling over the skin.

She told the newspaper: "I thought it was mould but when I had a closer look I saw some funny looking spots.

"I had a closer look and was horrified to see they were spiders. They were hatching out on the table, scurrying around on my carpet."

The 29-year-old took the bananas back to supermarket Sainsbury's and was initially offered a £10 voucher in compensation.

But after sending an image of the creatures to a pest control company, her family were told to evacuate their home as it could be infested with Brazilian wandering spiders.

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Guinness World Records in 2010 listed the Brazilian wandering spider as the most venomous in the world.

Sometimes known as the "banana spider", they often hide in banana plants and are found across South and Central America.

They can be extremely aggressive and their venom contains a neurotoxin which triggers loss of muscle control, breathing problems, paralysis and eventual asphyxiation, although there is a common anti-venom.

Sainsbury's has paid for the Taylor home to be fumigated and for the family to stay in a hotel while it was cleaned, The Sun reported.

The supermarket said: "We're very sorry and have apologised to Mr and Mrs Taylor.

"We do have rigorous controls on imported products at all stages - from harvesting to transportation - which is why this is so rare."

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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.

Check out more  animals that begin with the letter B

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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 Profile. There are more than 50,000 species of spider, and the vast majority are less dangerous than a honeybee. Almost none are aggressive, and of those with medically significant venom, only a small percentage are capable of causing death. ... These unquestionably scary spiders show up in supermarkets in the UK on ...

  6. World's deadliest spider alert closes supermarket in UK

    The Guinness Book of World Records considers the Brazilian wandering spider the most venomous spider in the world, with only 0.006 mg of its venom needed to kill a mouse. Hundreds of bites are ...

  7. Venomous spider found in Waitrose shopping 'beautiful but aggressive

    The Brazilian wandering spider - which according to reports over the weekend emerged from a South London family's Waitrose delivery - is one of the most infamous species of venomous spider ...

  8. 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.

  9. Spider eggs that caused UK family to flee home 'not of dangerous

    Keith Hobbs and wife Laura fled with their four children when told the egg sack probably belonged to Brazilian wandering spider, which can kill with its venomous bite and has legs up to 6in (15cm ...

  10. Deadly spider found in Coventry warehouse

    The Brazilian Wandering spider, normally found in south and central South America, was caught and taken to a reptile store in the city. ... Deadly spider found in UK. Published. 7 June 2011. Rare ...

  11. Killer spider found in family's supermarket shopping

    Pest expert Steve Trippett, who described the spider as "hardcore", put the eggs in a freezer to kill them and, armed with a 3ft stick, found the spider hiding in the fruit bowl. The spider ...

  12. Brazilian Wandering Spider in Bananas

    There are lots of spiders in banana plantations, part of the ecosystem you see, very few are venomous to humans, and a tiny number will survive picking and transport into UK stores. There are lots of false reports of Brazilian wandering spiders turning up in bananas - including this report - and very few confirmed reports.

  13. Spiders in United Kingdom

    41 Species Found in United Kingdom. Amaurobius ferox. (Black Lace-Weaver) 125 pictures. Anelosimus vittatus. 3 pictures. Araneus diadematus. (Cross Orb-weaver) 169 pictures.

  14. Brazilian wandering spiders: Bites & other facts

    About 4,000 bites reportedly happen each year in Brazil, but only 0.5% of those cases are severe, according to a 2018 study in the journal Clinical Toxinology in Australia, Europe, and Americas ...

  15. 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).

  16. Brazilian Wandering Spider: One Of The World's Most Venomous Spiders

    The neurotoxin PhTx3 is to blame for these symptoms, and according to the Independent, a wandering spider bite can reportedly be fatal in as little as 60 minutes. However, an effective anti-venom ...

  17. 'Painful erection' spiders found in family's fruit

    Paul Gale, from the company, said Brazilian wandering spiders were "potentially lethal". "They are from a humid, moist climate. The heat we're putting in is a dry heat and they are unable to live."

  18. New species! Tiny jumping spider found wandering around a university

    A new non-native species of jumping spider less than 3mm long has been found wondering around the grounds of the University of Exeter's campus in Penryn in Cornwall

  19. Can a Bite From a Brazilian Wandering Spider Cause a Four-Hour Erection

    A bite from a Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria nigriventer) can cause an erection that lasts up to four hours. On Aug. 14, 2023, the account First Doctor posted what it asserted to be an ...

  20. Giant house spiders set to invade homes across UK as species enters

    With 650 species of spider across the UK, the majority are too small to bite. Though the domestic house spider and the giant house spider rarely bite, they're infamous for their size and speed ...

  21. 'Deadly' Spiders Found In Supermarket Bananas

    The 29-year-old took the bananas back to supermarket Sainsbury's and was initially offered a £10 voucher in compensation. But after sending an image of the creatures to a pest control company ...

  22. News, features and updates

    All news, features and updates. Showing 1-9 of 129 results. News. World's oldest known bird puts spotlight on a fascinating family of seabird. February is often associated with love and it's no coincidence that for many birds it's also a time of courtship.

  23. 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.