Wandering spider (Phoneutria reidyi)

Deep inside Noel Kempff Mercado National Park there are few traces of human activities, and no other way to sleep than making a campground for the night.

There are several campgrounds, but as this is the jungle and few visitors come here, they are quickly reclaimed by nature. This location is at the very end of the “road” and where the walk to the Huanchaca Plateau (Caparú Meseta) begins.

Despite this, the salty sweat on my body, clothes, backpack, and everything tainted by my sweat attracted swarm-like amounts of moths, like this was a regular salt-lick! Following the moths were several species of huge spiders – the size of tarantulas. Without our salt these moths are spread out, so this was a huge temptation for all the nocturnal wandering spiders in the area.

This wandering spider (Phoneutria reidyi) was one of two species using our tents as a hunting ground, and only when I got back home did I understand the rather hasty and excited reaction from my local guide. They are the only spiders here deadly to humans…..

I was not aware of the number of these nocturnal spiders, but got a hint later this night as I was walking further into the jungle to photograph bioluminescent beetle larvas on termite mounds. I saw several huge spiders, either sitting high on the ground, or moving quickly away from my path.

Next time around I will definitely spend more time looking for these beautiful nocturnal hunters during the dark hours, as they are really hard to see during the day.


Last updated on 27 June 2024