Reader video: Huntsman eating another spider

By AG Staff Writer 4 November 2016
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Extraordinary close-up footage of an Australian huntsman eating another spider.

WARNING: ARACHNOPHOBES AND the weak stomached might want to turn away right about now. The rest of you, however, may have trouble tearing your eyes away once our latest AG Reader Video starts rolling.

This somehow equally hard to watch yet mesmerising footage was shared by Nikki Richardson of Mutarnee, 67km north-east of Townsville in Queensland. Nikki works in the mines but says she spends almost all of her spare time “crawling around in the bush, finding all sorts of wildlife”. Nikki captured this footage of an Australian huntsman on the side of a banana tree chowing down on a tasty meal using her iPad and a torch.

While it’s difficult to identify the huntsman’s prey, Dr Maggie Hardy, an entomologist and expert in spider venom at the University of Queensland, says she has a feeling it could be a crab spider (family Thomisidae), “but it’s hard to tell,” she says, adding, “Part of the [huntsman] spider venom paralyzes the prey, and other components liquefy the prey so the spider can drink it like a milkshake.”

There are about 94 species of huntsman spiders in Australia, and their bite is harmless to humans, explains Maggie. “They are called huntsman because they are fast and effective hunters,” she says.

Nikki first shared the video on her Instagram account, faunatography, where it has received almost 200,000 views at the time of publishing.