Largest spider in Middle East – Cerbalus aravensis

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 in Size

Cerbalus aravaensis (spider)

Credit: Mickey Samuni-Blank

 

Recently discovered Middle Eastern giant

This leggy spider is one of the newest species to have become known to man, having been discovered in 2010. It is also the largest spider found in the Middle East.

 

How big can it get?

As with most new species, very little is known of Cerbalus aravensis. However, a specimen located in the Sands of Samar – a desert located on the border of Israel and Jordan – was found to have a leg span of 14 centimetres, larger than any other spider in the region.

 

What does it eat?

Its barren habitat suggests that it dines on beetles, insects, gerbils and small lizards, all of which frequent the Sands of Samar.

 

How does it hunt?

This spider is more active during the warmer months and can mainly be spotted at night time. Like the white lady spider – which resembles this arachnid – it most likely stalks its prey before consuming it.

 

How dangerous is it?

Humans face little danger from Cerbalus aravensis.

 

How many are left?

Despite having been discovered just two years ago, this spider is already an endangered species. The desert it is native to has dwindled in size to just one square kilometre, due to human advancement. Further extension of sand quarries and agricultural land puts it at serious risk.

 

Anything else?

This is one of the smartest spiders in the world. It constructs a trap-door like entrance to its underground burrow which it camouflages using sand and glue. Such endeavour proving worthwhile when the spider needs somewhere to hide from the dangerous Arabian horned viper which frequents the same location.

 

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