Spiders: Family Theraphosidae

Common name: Baboon spiders. South Africa has a rich diversity of baboon spiders, represented by eight genera and 44 species of which 35 are endemic to the region. The common name comes from the hairy appearance of the spider and from the pads of the spider’s “feet” which resemble the colour and texture of that of a baboon’s finger. They are ground-dwelling and spend most of their time inside their burrows, usually not moving far from the burrow. Most baboon spiders are predominantly nocturnal sit-and-wait hunters and most species await the approach of prey within the entrance of their burrows. Being carnivores. they feed on a variety of small invertebrates such as beetles, grasshoppers, millipedes, cockroaches, crickets, and other spiders. They may also be cannibals, the young eat each other and the females often eat the males after mating. They are very long-lived spiders and may take up to 10 years to reach maturity. While some spider species live only for a year, baboon spiders can live from 15 to 20 years or longer. Female baboon spiders have been documented to live for over 30 years. There are no reports of baboon spiders' venom having any medically important effects on humans. Abundance: rare and threatened. (Marita Beneke)
Hover on an image for the species name; click it to go to the more detailed species page.
Ceratogyrus darlingi Harpactirella overdijki Pterinochilus lapalala Harpactira giga

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