A team of scientists went to Peru's lowland tropical forest to document invertebrates and saw an uncommon sight: a large tarantula, the size of a "dinner plate" with "massive fangs" catching and eating a baby opossum. Although they didn't capture on video the part where the tarantula caught the animal, they were the first to ever record a tarantula feasting on an opossum.
“When we do surveys at night, some of the spiders we see will have prey, typically other invertebrates like crickets and moths," said one of the scientists, Rudolf von May from the University of Michigan, according to National Geographic (click on the link to see a longer version of the video).
But one night [the survey revealed a sight none of the researchers had seen before: A tarantula the size of a dinner plate preying upon a small opossum.
"The opossum had already been grasped by the tarantula and was still struggling weakly at that point, but after about 30 seconds it stopped kicking,” co-author Michael Grundler, a Ph.D. student says in a statement.
"We were pretty ecstatic and shocked, and we couldn't really believe what we were seeing," Grundler says.
Later, Robert Voss, a mammologist at the American Museum of Natural History, confirmed they had captured the first documentation of a large mygalomorph spider—commonly known as a tarantula—hunting and eating an opossum.
This photo, courtesy of the British Tarantula Society, shows the recently-discovered burrow-dwelling spider [Birupes simoroxigorum] in its full glory. It’s been described as the most beautiful spider (more via Metafilter) but not without controversy.
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