What is the world’s largest spider?


“Large” is a relative term, and there is more than one spider that could be considered the largest, depending on whether you mean weight, body length, or legspan. The general consensus at present seems to point to the “goliath birdeater” tarantula, Theraphosa blondi, as the largest spider. Males of this species can have a legspan of up to ten inches (25 cm). It is certainly the heaviest of spiders, one specimen of which holds the Guiness World Record at 6.17 ounces (175 grams). The largest web-spinning spider, Nephila komaci, has been discovered among museum specimens from Africa. A mature female can have a body length of 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) and a legspan of 4-5 inches (10-12 cm). Males are literally a fraction of their mates’ enormous size. An extinct “spider,” Megarachne servinei, which lived in the upper Carboniferous Period of geological history, has proven to actually be a eurypterid, a group of arthropods known only from the fossil record. A preserved specimen of M. servinei from St. Louis Province in Argentina suggests it had a body length of 16 inches (34 cm), and a legspan of maybe 20 inches (50 cm).

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