Scientific Name: Deinopis spinosa
With enormous eyes and a stealthy, hunter mentality, you wouldn’t want to run into this long-legged crawler in the dead of night. Let’s get to know the ogre-faced spider, our September Bug of the Month!
The ogre-faced spider has been found internationally from North, South and Central America to Africa and Australia. Mostly found in tropical rainforests and areas with warm climates, this arachnid has discerning features that make it incredibly easy to pick from a lineup. Although it has eight eyes, two are extremely large and forward-facing, giving them an imposing demeanor like the mythical creature for which they’re named. Unlike the typically buff and brawny fictional beasts, these “ogres” are surprisingly slender. Females can reach up to an inch in length with males only slightly larger. Colors can also vary from solid chocolate brown and brownish red to light gray and black with tonal stripes.
Known for its hunting acumen, ogre-faced spiders feed on a variety of smaller insects and even some near its own size. While many spiders hunt off the ground by ensnaring flying insects and tree crawlers in their webs, ogre-faced spiders–or net-casting spiders–primarily hunts floor dwellers like ants, crickets, beetles and even other spiders! It spins an intricate web into a four-sided net and waits for its unsuspecting victim from above. When the time is right, they’ll descend upon their prey and drop the web onto the prey, entrapping the prey in the web net. What’s even more impressive is that they do this under cover of darkness using their visual acuity, something some spiders aren’t typically known to use for hunting.
While most spiders have eight eyes, they often don’t see very well and navigate their surroundings by touch, vibrations and taste. The Deinopis species, however, has the largest and best eyes of all spiders. Bucking the trend of spiders having poor eyesight, this lanky hunter uses its massive eyes to its advantage when hunting at night. Since it can see in extreme low light conditions, the ogre-faced spider strikes its prey head-on for accuracy after catching it in the net webbing. In fact, their eyes are so sensitive that the nocturnal stalkers can hunt in near darkness. Amazing!
“The spider with NIGHTVISION goggles: Arachnid uses its enlarged eyes to help it hunt prey on the ground at night” Daily Mail