Dangerous record discovery in Australia: A huge male Sydney funnel-web spider has been discovered north of Sydney. The dreaded Sydney Funnel-webs, as they are called in their native land, are one of the most venomous spider species in the world and can kill a person in less than an hour.
The specimen, christened Hercules, is 7.9 centimeters long from leg tip to leg tip, surpassing the previous record holder Colossus, reported the Australian "Guardian", citing the Australian Reptile Park.
Males more poisonous than females
Colossus was caught in 2018 and was one millimeter smaller. Both animals were handed over to the reptile park north of Sydney. Normally, the infamous eight-legged creatures are only between one and five centimeters tall, with the females clearly towering over the males. The largest female discovered so far, called Megaspider, measures only a little more at eight centimeters.
The park is the only place in Australia where the males are milked for their venom to produce a so-called antidote. Reason: The males are five to six times more poisonous than the females - and their toxin is particularly suitable for producing a life-saving antidote.
"Valuable" for anti-venom program
"We're used to fairly large funnel-webs being donated to the park, but receiving such a large male funnel-web spider is like hitting the jackpot," said spider expert Emma Teni. The specimen's venom output is expected to be enormous and "incredibly valuable" to the park's antivenom program.
There are 36 species of funnel-web spiders. The male of the Sydney species (Atrax robustus), which occurs within 160 kilometers of the Australian metropolis, is the most dangerous - and, together with the Brazilian wandering spider, has made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the most poisonous spider in the world. Since the reptile park's program began in 1981, there have been no deaths from animal bites in Australia.