Shinobu screamed for help this morning when she found a giant huntsman spider (actually a “huntswoman” really!) in the bedroom. It was a very big female with a leg span of about 15cm. A very impressive creature!
This species is also called the giant crab spider or housekeeping spider and they are common throughout the tropics/subtropics. They frequently live in houses (squeezing into cracks and behind furniture) and they could be said to be beneficial because they eat things like cockroaches and flies. They don’t spin webs but catch their prey by stealth and speed.
Due to its large size, it might look dangerous but this particular spider is not venomous (to humans) although the fangs (chelicerae) look like they could give a nasty bite! I was careful when I picked it up. By the way, the photo of the spider on its back does not show it dead, it just played dead when I put it on its back. Convenient for photographs!
Arachnida: Araneae: Sparassidae
Heteropoda venatoria (ashidakagumo)
Link to Wikipedia article on the huntsman spider family (Sprassidae): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huntsman_spider