Golden Orb Spider eats a chestnut-breasted Mannikin in Australian garden.
Image and story: Daily Mail.
This picture and story is so creepy that it makes my skin crawl to see this at the top of my blog. But it's also very strange -- the stuff of nightmares!! -- so I had to share it with you. If you are an arachnophobe, as I am, this will defintely give you nightmares. But if you are insatiably curious about the natural world, as I am, follow the link for the story and for more gruesome images -- just in time for Hallowe'en.
Wow. I don't know if they were THAT big, but I've seen some massive golden orb spiders in the field in Florida. The spiders themselves could be larger than your hand, but the webs were insane. I've seen many whose webs would span trails that were at least 20 feet wide. Just insane.
Here's a photo of two of these golden orb spiders (male and female?) with a human hand for scale reference.
Taken in Brisbane, Queensland.
Ordinarily - the Daily Mail is so unreliable one should be skeptical if they report anything more unusual than 'water is wet'. But it's reported in the torygraph as well.
In addition - the Australian golden orb weaver and a few other Australian spiders have been known to eat small birds on occasion. There's also a (much smaller, but still big for a spider) communal spider in the pacific northwest that occasionally eats small birds.
The Smithsonian in Wash. DC has a preservered birdeating tarantula in the museum that is really creepy and huge!
That is so cool.
llewelly -- this story has been reported in close to one dozen newspapers around the world. i just grabbed the first photoessay that had pictures guaranteed to give me nightmares.
oh, and thanks for the additional nightmares, thomas and tabor!