A chilling image of the unique and horrifying kite spider has gone viral after it was shared on Twitter recently. The account “Weird Animals”, which shares “amazing’ images of animals most folks aren’t familiar with posted the image.
The long-winged kite spider.— Weird Animals (@Weird_AnimaIs) November 26, 2022
(Photo JMK) pic.twitter.com/RpteE7imsu
The simple image of the “long-winged kite spider” has garnered significant buzz since being posted. The yellow and red pattern on the exoskeleton of the strange creature screams “venomous.” The mimicry of a butterfly by an arachnid also invokes a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Luckily, despite the name, the spider can’t fly.
Twitter users wasted no time voicing their terror and interest in the peculiar specimen. “Looks like a pizza that shaped itself into a devil face to tell me I can trust it and should come closer. Jokes on you I don’t like pizza,” one user quipped. “Starship Troopers is real,” another user joked, referring to the 1997 killer bug classic. A third Twitter user commented on the seeming wingspan of the creature. “It loves you thiiiiiiiiis much,” they wrote.
Finally, some curious followers seemed a bit hungry. “How do you think it tastes?”, one joked. “He looks like he would have the same texture as a skittle if you ate him,” another insisted.
The kite spider is harmless to humans
The female is approximately 8 to 10 mm long, with a brightly colored and glossy abdomen, similar to other members of their genus. This species’ abdomen is hard (sclerotized) and projects over the cephalothorax. It has six peripheral spines, with the lateral pair being medium to long in length and slightly recurved. In contrast to males, females are larger, more colorful, and have thorny abdominal projections.
The web has densely spaced radii and an open hub, making it ideal for placement near the ground or several meters up. Their venom is not known to be harmful to humans. This spider is found in warm parts of the world, including the southern United States, Central America, Jamaica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Bermuda, South America, and certain islands in the Bahamas. It has also been spotted in Australia and Palawan in the Philippines.
The kite spider is commonly found near trees and shrubs in wooded areas or gardens, according to Spidapedia, the online spider encyclopedia. Much of the research on this spider has been conducted in Florida citrus groves. The spider’s lifespan only lasts until they reproduce, which is typically the spring after they hatched. Females die after creating an egg sac, and males die six days after a full cycle of transferring sperm to the female. The genus name, Gasteracantha, is derived from the Greek words for “belly,” γαστήρ and ἄκανθα (“thorn”), while the specific epithet, cancriformis, comes from the Latin word cancer and forma.