Being that we just celebrated Halloween, I thought it’d be a good time to introduce you to the Brazilian tarântula, known in Brazil as the caranguejeira (after caranguejo, or crab, due to its size and similarity). Out of 900 species of tarântulas on the planet, 300 of them are Brazilian. Of those 300 species come 11 families, 10 of which are native to the Amazon jungle.
While the caranguejeiras are venemous, they are also shy and generally avoid humans. Their favorite meals tend to be around their own size, so that means small birds and various types of rodents and reptiles. Despite having a huge spider in my house last night, I’m happy to say I’ve never seen a “crab-spider”, even when I lived in the Amazon.
With 300 species of tarântulas coming from Brazil, one might think they were all once from Brazil, too. In fact, the name tarântula used to refer to the wolf spider and it was connected to the town of Taranto in southern Italy. It was believed long ago that, when bitten, one should do the tarantela, a dance to rid oneself of the venom.
As for me, I’d rather move my legs before encountering one…that is, in the other direction.