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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Rain Spider: Facts You Won't Believe

There are some very interesting rain spider facts to learn.

Rain spiders (Palystes superciliosus) also known as lizard-eating spiders, belong to the genus Palystes, a genus of huntsman spider.  It was formerly known by the species name P. natalius, but its name was later changed. This genus of huntsman spider is found in South Africa. The word 'palystes' in its species name, P. superciliosus, has been derived from the Greek word 'palaistes', meaning 'wrestler'.

These are large spiders and are often known as tarantulas and can wreak havoc in your house or garden during early summer or early rain. Many gardeners are often bitten by rain spiders during the period when females lay eggs as they are very protective of their egg sacs. These spiders are often hunted by a wasp in the house and can be seen wrapped in a wasp nest sac for their larvae to feed on fresh flesh. Since pompilid wasps only hunt and eat spiders, these spiders can often be seen paralyzed and being dragged by wasps around the house and in your gardens.

If you want to learn more about these amazing spiders then read on. Also, if you enjoy reading about spiders then you can check out some interesting information about whip spider and southern house spider.

Rain Spider Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a rain spider?

Rain spiders are large spiders known as tarantulas.

What class of animal does a rain spider belong to?

Rain spiders belong to the class of animals known as Arachnida.

How many rain spider are there in the world?

The rain spider, Palystes superciliosus, a subspecies of the huntsman spider is plentiful in the areas where they can be found such as South Africa, and is very common in its habitat.

Where does a rain spider live?

Rain spiders can be found in southern Africa, particularly in the Western Cape and eastern parts of South Africa. These creatures have a range from KwaZulu-Natal in the east to the west into Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and from the north west to the eastern cape in the south.

What is a rain spider's habitat?

Rain spiders can be found in homes, hunting for geckos which are their favorite meal. This is also the reason why they are known as lizard-eating spiders. They can be found in homes and gardens during summers, and the onset of rains. This species can be easily seen between August and December when males are looking for females to mate and females are busy foraging.

Who do rain spider live with?

Rain spiders live in homes with other home-dwelling spiders, home lizards, and geckos.

How long does a rain spider live?

The lifespan of this species is almost two years.

How do they reproduce?

In the breeding season which usually takes place between November to April, male spiders build webs known as sperm webs which are used to deposit their sperms. The male of this species will go through a process known as sperm induction and deposits the sperm web into the genital opening of female spiders which are later fertilized. A female then makes protective egg sacs of silk as its nest so that the eggs can hatch inside in safety, which is a distinguishable feature of these spiders. The protective egg sacs are round in shape and made of silk, with twigs and leaves woven into them. These sacs are about 2.3-3.9 in (60-100 mm) in size. The weaving of these egg sacs made of silk with twigs and the laying of eggs takes about three to five hours. The eggs hatch inside the protected layer of twigs and leaves woven by the female. They only leave the protective sac after becoming spiderlings.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of rain spiders, a sub-species of huntsman spiders, is Not Evaluated by the IUCN. Although they are abundantly found in the Western Cape, north west, and KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

Rain Spider Fun Facts

What do rain spiders look like?

These spiders are brown in color and are identifiable by the black, yellow, and white bands on the underside of their legs which give them a very fearsome appearance. They reach a body length of about 3.9 in (100 mm) with their long skinny legs. Their skinny legs are what distinguishes them from baboon spiders.

Geckos are the favorite meal of rain spiders.

How cute are they?

Rain spiders are scary with their big appearance and color characteristics and cannot be in any way considered to be cute.

How do they communicate?

Rain spiders usually don't communicate except for when they have to mate in the months of November to April. Female spiders release pheromones which makes male spiders of this species release a purring sound, made by a comb-like organ. Spiders use leaves as a method of transportation of these sounds and females prefer males who use leaves to amplify these purring sounds.

How big is a rain spider?

Rain spiders have a body length of 0.6-1.4 in (15-36 mm) with a leg span of 4 in (100 mm). They are much larger than other species of spiders and much smaller than baboon spiders.

How fast can a rain spider fly?

Rain spiders cannot fly, although when they are hanging down from their webs with a thin silk web, they may seem like they are flying to children. They also can't jump but can run at high speeds when threatened.

How much does a rain spider weigh?

The weight of rain spiders, or lizard-eating spiders, is so negligible and you won't even notice them if they are sitting on you.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male and females of this species have the same name which is Palystes superciliosus. They can also be called a male rain spider and a female rain spider.

What would you call a baby rain spider?

Baby rain spiders are called the same name as other spider babies which is spiderlings.

What do they eat?

The diet of rain spiders consists of crickets, cockroaches, lizards, moths, geckos, and other large insects. The diet of baby spiders or spiderlings on the other hand consists of flightless fruit flies and pinhead crickets.

Are they dangerous?

Although these spiders were earlier considered to be venomous due to their size and leg span, later an experiment was done involving a guinea pig that proved that they are not venomous. The venom secreted by the bite of a rain spider is in fact no more fatal than that of a bee sting to humans.  The sensation of a bite and the pain of a rain spider bite is also similar to that of a bee sting. The sting is not that painful, but not a treat to humans either.

Would they make a good pet?

Spiders don't usually make good pets as they thrive better in their natural habitats and environment.

Did you know...

They are given the name rain spider as they are found mostly in homes in the rainy season. The important thing to note is that they actually don't like rai which is what drives them into your homes in the rainy season. They also move inside to catch their favorite prey which are lizards and geckos, and this gives them their other name, lizard-eating spiders.

What is the most dangerous spider in South Africa?

The most dangerous spider in South Africa is the sac spider. The genus of this spider is Cheiracanthium. It is a night-dwelling spider and is responsible for three quarters of all spider bites in South Africa. The deadliest spider in the world on the other hand is the funnel-web spider or Atrax robustus.

Do rain spiders eat mosquitoes?

Spiders will eat the mosquitos in your home. They will also feed on other insects in homes such as flies, clothes moths, and earwigs. The same goes for rain spiders when it comes to food.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other [arthropods] including giant centipede, or quahog.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our rain spider coloring pages.

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