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Giant Spider in Manchester

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As posted on Facebook, March 6, 2013:
Spider in Manchester

Netlore Archive: Viral image purports to show a huge, long-legged spider lurking in the corner of a house in Manchester, England.

Via Facebook

Description: Viral image
Circulating since: 2011?
Status: Mislabeled (see details below)


Full text:
As originally posted on Facebook, Aug. 22, 2011:

THIS was actually found this morning in a house in Manchester, , Fire Brigade were apparently shit scared and handed it over to a spider specialist. Family fled screaming from their home, , think Id do same its like something from a horror movie ,...


Analysis: This pic, presumably genuine, first started showing up in Internet postings in April 2011, with the critter variously described as 1) a "Banana Spider," 2) a "Camel Spider," 3) a "Huntsman Spider terrorizing the staff at an office in Greensboro, Georgia," and 4) a spider of unknown type "found this morning in a house in Manchester," etc.

Of all the above, it is most likely a Huntsman Spider (Heteropoda venatoria), alternatively known as a Banana Spider, Housekeeping Spider, or Giant Crab Spider. I haven't been able to verify the geographical origin of the photo, but it could have been taken in Georgia or elsewhere in the southeastern United States. The same species can also be found in Asia (where it is native), Australia, Hawaii, and the Caribbean islands, so the photo might have been taken in one of those locations, as well. One place the Huntsman Spider isn't likely to be found, however, is Manchester — or anywhere else in England or Europe, for that matter — so that claim is blatantly false.

Big and scary as it looks, experts say Heteropoda venatoria is neither poisonous nor dangerous, though its bite can be "locally painful."

(NOTE: It's also possible that the specimen pictured is specifically a Giant Huntsman Spider (Heteropoda maxima), native to Laos, with a legspan of up to 12 inches, the largest of any known arachnid species.)

More spider urban legends:
The Spider in the Oreo
Spider as Big as a House!
The 'Deadly' Two-Striped Telamonia
Camel Spiders in Iraq
A Brown Recluse Spider Bite


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Sources and further reading:

Huntsman Spider: Heteropoda venatoria
Institute for the Study of Invasive Species, 2011

Huntsman Spider: Heteropoda venatoria
Florida Nature, 2007

Giant Huntsman Spider: Heteropoda maxima
Animal A Day, 26 February 2011


Last updated 03/08/13

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