What kinds of spiders can you find in Bhutan?
Many people are terrified of spiders and find them extremely creepy. This is unfortunate because not only are most spiders completely harmless, but they benefit our environment by controlling the insect population. In fact, without spiders, our food supply would be in serious jeopardy.
Before we begin, I want you to know that the list below is just a fraction of the spiders in Bhutan. Because of the sheer number of these arachnids, it would be impossible to cover them all. For example, some estimates claim over 50,000 kinds of spiders on the planet (and the list is still growing)!
In today’s article, I did my best to develop a list of spiders you’re most likely to see.
Here are 4 common SPIDERS that live in Bhutan!
#1. Giant Golden Orbweaver
- Nephila pilipes
- Females are 30–50 mm (1.1-1.9 in), but their overall size, including their legs, is up to 20 cm (7.9 in).
- Males are much smaller, up to 5–6 mm (0.19-0.23 in).
- Their coloring is a stripy yellow and black with black legs with lighter-colored joints.
Giant Golden Orbweavers prefer habitats with no direct sunlight. This makes them perfectly adapted to live in dense rainforests and jungles. They build webs in bushes and trees near water sources.
Like many spiders, the females of this species are MUCH larger than the males. However, the Giant Golden Orbweaver takes it to a whole new level. Just look at the pair below and how the female dwarfs her partner!
The most surprising thing about this spider in Bhutan is that it’s a picky eater!
Incredibly, it only eats a few species of insects and will throw many others out of its web instead of eating them. To ensure they have enough of their preferred food source, they cache desirable food and store it in their webs for later.
Despite their intimidating appearance, Giant Golden Orbweavers aren’t dangerous to humans. Bites are rare, and symptoms are usually mild, involving muscle soreness or tightness. Symptoms go away on their own and don’t usually require medical treatment.
#2. Joro Spider
- Trichonephila clavata
- Females are 17–25 mm (0.66-0.98 in) long, while males are 7–10 mm 0.27-0.39 in).
- This species has blue and yellow stripes on the abdomen with a red patch near the back. Its legs are black with bands of yellow.
- The legs have brushy sections of dense hair.
Look for Joro Spiders in Bhutan in both forests and populated locations.
Interestingly, this species has also spread to North America. For example, populations have been discovered in Georgia and South Carolina. Joro Spiders are resistant to cold weather, and extreme conditions, so many researchers believe this intimidating-looking spider will eventually become naturalized across the eastern United States.
This species isn’t aggressive, but it will occasionally bite if provoked or handled roughly, and its venom can cause a lot of pain. However, it isn’t life-threatening, so don’t be too scared!
There is a mythological creature in Japanese folklore modeled after the Joro Spider, called Jorōgumo. Despite the species’ relative harmlessness, the Jorōgumo is not a creature you’d want to cross. According to legend, it can breathe fire, control other spiders, and shapeshift into a beautiful woman and devour unsuspecting men!
#3. Hasselt’s Spiny Spider
- Macracantha hasselti
- Females are about 8 mm (0.31 in) long. They have hardened abdomens with sharp spikes, two of which are very long and sharp.
- Their coloring is bright orange, with 12 black dots that form two rows on the back.
- Males are much smaller and nondescript.
Hasselt’s Spiny Spiders live in tropical forests in Bhutan.
Their bright coloring and spiny appendages make them look dangerous, but this is all for show. In reality, these orb-weaving spiders are harmless to humans.
In fact, their showy appearance is a defense mechanism against larger predators! And I imagine it’s pretty effective; I definitely wouldn’t eat one if I came across it! Like other spiny orb-weavers, this species has a hard, shell-like abdomen that’s tough for even large predators to bite through. Plus, even if they get through the shell, they still have to contend with long, pointy spikes.
In addition to their tough exoskeleton, their colorful appearance helps deter predators by making them seem poisonous. In reality, they don’t have potent toxins at all.
#4. Pantropical Huntsman Spider
- Heteropoda venatoria
- Adults are between 2.2 and 2.8 cm (0.86-1.10 in) long with a leg span of 7-12 cm (2.8-4.72 in).
- Females have larger bodies, and males have longer legs.
- Both sexes are brown with yellow or cream markings and distinct black spots on their legs.
The Pantropical Huntsman Spider is native to Bhutan but is a bit of a world traveler! They’re often called banana spiders because they hitch a ride in tropical fruit imports, making their way to other parts of the world. These fearsome-looking spiders thrive in areas with warm climates but are occasionally found in greenhouses and heated buildings in temperate climates.
Because of their need for warmth, Pantropical Huntsman Spiders slip into small cracks and crevices around homes, barns, and sheds. Luckily, they’re most active at night, so your chances of disturbing one are fairly low. Additionally, their venom is not dangerous to humans. However, they can deliver a painful bite that might swell and turn red.
As you may have guessed from their name, this species is an accomplished predator. Instead of trapping prey in webs, they rely on their speed and strength, grabbing prey with their jaws and injecting venom into it. In fact, people in many tropical countries like them because they feed on cockroaches and other pests.
Check out these other guides about animals found in Bhutan!
Which of these spiders have you seen before in Bhutan?
Leave a comment below!