Humongous Mexican cave spider with red fangs discovered - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Humongous Mexican cave spider with red fangs discovered

The red fangs are a nice touch. (Source: San Diego Natural History Museum) The red fangs are a nice touch. (Source: San Diego Natural History Museum)
The body's about an inch or so long and the legs span a diameter of at least four inches. (Source: San Diego Natural History Museum) The body's about an inch or so long and the legs span a diameter of at least four inches. (Source: San Diego Natural History Museum)

SAN DIEGO, CA (RNN) - Researchers from the San Diego Natural History Museum discovered a new species of big, hairy cave-dwelling spiders as big around as a saucer with red fangs.

The museum team along with experts from Brazil and Mexico found an abnormally large exoskeleton hanging from the roof of a cave in Baja California Sur, said Jim Berrian, an etymologist for the museum.

He said he could tell by the eye pattern that it was from a family of wandering spiders that were rare in the area.

That kind of spider is nocturnal, so they came back when the sun went down. That same night they poked around and there it was, the creature now known as Califorctenus cacachilensis, or the Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider.

 “In all my experience over the years collecting spiders on the peninsula, I had never seen a spider this large,” said Dr. Maria Luisa Jiminez, who is considered the foremost expert on spiders of Baja California Sur. “I suspected that something new was waiting to be described.”

They found about two dozen more specimens in caves, an abandoned mine shaft and the remnants of a pit toilet, according to Smithsonian.com.

The new Mexican cave spider is related to the notorious Brazilan wandering spider, whose venom can kill a grown man but not before giving him a four-hour erection. But it's so different it has been put in a whole different genus, and while it’s venomous, it’s no danger to humans said Berrian, who got bitten by one and lived to tell about it.

Most insects and spiders on the planet are undiscovered, according to a museum blog post. There are 1.1 million species of insects and spiders that have been identified and given names, but there are probably two to five million critters that remain an enigma to science.

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