Olios giganteus (Giant Crab Spider)

About Olios giganteus

Taxonomic Hierarchy

→ Kingdom: Animalia
→ Phylum: Arthropoda
→ Class: Arachnida
→ Order: Araneae
→ Family: Sparassidae
→ Genus: Olios
→ Species: Olios giganteus

Other Common Names

Golden Huntsman Spider

Author

Author of species name: Eugen von Keyserling. First year published: 1884, as Olios giganteus.

Pronunciation

OH-lee-ohs jih-GAN-tee-uhs

Meaning

Olios is from the cult name for Apollo; also meaning “baleful, deadly” (Cameron 2005) — but this spider is *not* deadly. The specific epithet, giganteus, is from the latinized Greek adjective meaning “gigantic, of the giants.”

Identifying Traits of Olios giganteus

Size

Body length (excluding legs) of adult female ranges from 14-48 mm; adult males range from 11-30 mm.

Female Primary Colors

Male Primary Colors

Eye diagram of Olios giganteus

Eyes

Total of eight eyes. When viewed from the front, they appear as two horizontal rows of four; bottom (anterior) row is nearly straight, and the top (posterior) row is slightly procurved. Posterior row a little bit wider than anterior row. Anterior eyes slightly larger than posterior eyes. See eye diagram for clarification.

Legs

Legs are laterigrade, meaning “twisted” at the base so as to be oriented in a horizontal plane rather than a vertical plane. This gives the spider a decidedly crab-like appearance. Total leg span of these species can reach up to 3 inches or more in the larger specimens. Second pair of legs is the longest. All legs thick and hairy and same color as the carapace (light brown, tan, or gray). Tip of each leg has 2 claws and large claw tufts (cluster of hairs that help the spider cling to surfaces).

Body

These can be very large spiders, certainly living up to their nickname “Giant Crab Spider!” Overall mottled pale brown or gray; abdomen with a noticeable pale “heart mark” that is bordered with a thin black line (this looks like an elongated black ‘V’ or ‘Y’ shape on the abdomen). Body dorsoventrally flattened (flattened from top to bottom), allowing the spider to slip into thin cracks and crevices. Adult males have a smaller body than the females. Chelicerae (jaws) noticeably dark brown or black.

Range of Olios giganteus

Olios giganteus can be found in the following states, provinces and territories across the United States and Canada. Our current understanding of each spider's distribution is drawn from numerous scientific publications and online spider submissions, in order to be as accurate as possible. It is important to remember that spiders do not adhere to the territorial lines decided on by humans, therefore these ranges are subject to change.

Important Range Notes

In addition to the range listed below, this species is also found in Mexico.

United States

Canada

Species not seen in Canada.

Additional Information

Habitat

This spider prefers arid, desert-like ecosystems. They are nocturnal and prowl mostly vertical surfaces, from shrubs and trees to the exterior walls of buildings. By day, the spider hides in cracks, crevices, beneath loose bark on trees, and similar snug situations.

Web

This is a nomadic, nocturnal hunting spider that does not spin a web for prey capture. However, they do use silk for drag lines, egg sac construction, and silken retreats inside which they complete their molting and/or hide during the day.

Season

Mature individuals may be found at any time of year, but especially in summer.

Food

Prey is virtually any small animal the spider can overpower. This usually consists of insects. Their predatory behavior basically consists of little more than a sudden lunge at close range on insects or other small prey. They are considered a “non-visual” hunting spider, so they rely mainly on other senses to alert them of prey (vibrations, etc).

Lifecycle

Egg sac is spun inside a large, spherical retreat (about 25mm in diameter) in which the female spider also resides, guarding the sac and the spiderlings that emerge from it. The incubation period lasts about one month in mid- to late summer. These spiders can be long-lived, perhaps surviving 2-3 years.

Remarks

Pictures of Olios giganteus

General

Female Spiders

Male Spiders

Filtering options are grayed out when we do not have pictures for the given perspective. If you are a spider photographer, you can submit pictures of spiders to help fill any voids in our ever expanding library.
  • Olios giganteus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Sweetwater Wetlands, Tucson
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Olios giganteus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Patagonia Lake State Park
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Olios giganteus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Florida Canyon, Santa Rita Mountains
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Olios giganteus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Florida Canyon, Santa Rita Mountains
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Olios giganteus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Lateral, Webs
  • City/Region: Uvalde County
  • State: Texas
  • Country: United States
  • Olios giganteus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Nogales
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Olios giganteus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Quartzsite
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Olios giganteus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Catalina State Park, Tucson
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Olios giganteus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Catalina State Park, Tucson
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Olios giganteus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Sedona, Yavapai County
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Olios giganteus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States

References and Further Reading

Various Research Papers

Scientific Diagrams and Keys for Identification

References for the Casual Reader

Species guide last updated: April 30, 2016

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