Away from the urban jungle we’re all accustomed to, subtropical Hong Kong is home to a number of exotic creepy crawlies, including a whole host of spiders. So, arachnophobes, look away now.
Golden orb weaver
This guy is no stranger to the average hiker, especially around the Silvermine Waterfall on Lantau. With a leg-span of up to 20cm, tribal streaks of amber and distinctive fangs, we’ve all had a mini meltdown when encountering this terrifying-yet-alluring arachnid.
Large house huntsman
A living nightmare for many, the huntsman is one of the largest spiders in the world. However, this docile critter is harmless to humans and helps keep down the cockroach population, so we should be grateful for them, really.
The predatory response of expelling venom to one’s prey isn’t limited to snakes. Attacking as quick as 1/700th of a second, the spitting spider strikes from a distance of 10 to 20mm, immobilising its prey in a venomous sticky mass, after which it takes a bite and starts chowing down.
Nursery web spider
This biblical spider is capable of running on the surface of water and the female of the species is known for its matriarchal knack of carrying her large egg sac under her body with her jaws and spinnerets as she moves. The male, however, is smaller in size and typically subject to cannibalism after mating. Girl power!
This anti-social spider commonly lives in solitude, refusing to cohabit with others of its species. The predatory invertebrate rests on a fine orb web and, as if to ward off the world, creates intimidating x-shaped patterns throughout.
What it lacks in size, the lynx makes up for in creepy appearance and ferocious hunting ability. Its one freaky looking spider, existing in various colours with multiple spiny hairs protruding from its legs. Unlike other spiders, the lynx doesn’t make webs but actively hunts its prey with its near 360-degree vision.
A household name, the tarantula has become a must-have for eccentric pet owners. Feeding on insects, other spiders and sometimes small birds, they’re harmless to humans. Tarantulas periodically shed their exoskeletons to regrow lost appendages and replace internal organs, such as female genitalia and even stomach lining. Tarantulas are scary, but they’re pretty awesome and tough, too.
Golden comb-footed spider
Gleaming gold and almost translucent under light, this fierce arachnid sports blade-like bristles on the tip of its abdomen. When hunting, the spider completely encapsulates its victim in a web, then, with its venomous fangs, punctures through the wrapping, finishing off the snack’s struggle.
Common two-tailed spider
Another one to watch out for when hiking, the common two-tailed spider bides its time by blending into tree barks, taking advantage of its lichen colour for camouflage should predators attack. This Spiderman-esque arachnid boasts superhero abilities since it can fly by casting its spinnerets to dart across trees, a movement so swift the human eye can barely see it.
Making up 13 percent of all spider species, jumping spiders are renowned for their telescopic sight, ace hunting ability and bizarrely extravagant mating rituals that involve a zigzagging courtship dance. Two of its eight eyes are enlarged, giving the spider four times life-size zoom. And just look at that picture. The jumping spider is a bit of a cutie. That said, don’t forget all these spiders can be found in our SAR. Good luck sleeping tonight.
By Zachary Santos