Sparassidae Heteropodidae

These are the giant crab-spiders. They occur primarily in tropical and subtropical regions of Central America, but they are often brought to temperate regions on fruit and vegetable produce. The anterior median eyes are smaller than the anterior laterals. Tibia 1 has three or four pairs of ventral spines; the last pair of spines is distal and shorter than the others.

Banana spider, Heteropoda venatoria Males are about 20 mm long and females about 23 mm long. The carapace is yellow to brown, and it has black setae near the posterior of the carapace. Sometimes there is a white band on the carapace above the chelicerae. The abdomen is light brown with two or three indistinct longitudinal black lines; the marks are more distinct in males. It is not poisonous to humans. It feeds on other insects, and often on cockroaches. The egg-sac is flatand cushion-like, and itis carried by the female under her body. This species is distributed in tropical and subtropicalregions of Central America, but occurs in tropical regions around the world. It occurs in southwestern USA, including Florida. Banana shipments to the UK and other parts of Europe may contain these spiders. Italso occurs in fruit and vegetable produce shipped to Japan.

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