Foto Friday – Creepy Crawlies

February 18, 2010 - 11:59 PM by

Last month, scientists at the University of Haifa announced that they had discovered a new and previously unknown species of spider. I don’t know about you, but I greet news like that with mixed emotions: pride in our local research institutions, curiosity at seeing the bug and — now having seen the photos (like this one by researcher Yael Olek) — a dash of alarm. This thing is a big as a Mack Truck.

The researchers say that this spider’s leg-span can reach up to 14 cm., which makes it the largest spider of its type in the Middle East. The species was discovered in the dune of the Sands of Samar in the southern Arava region. It is a member of the genus Cerbalus and was named Cerbalus aravensis for its native habitat, if you like knowing that sort of thing.

Unfortunately, however, the poor critter’s habitat is endangered by — you guessed it — humans and their boundless capacity to screw things up. According to head of research Dr. Uri Shanas, mining projects in the area will endanger the existence of the spider as well as possibly other unknown animal species living in the sands. Hopefully, efforts will be made to preserve this unique region in the Arava, as well as the lifeforms crawling in, out and round about.

Photographer Marco Jona has a particular fascination for such creepy crawlies. Waiting patiently for the right moment, he manages to get in close and catch almost human-like expressions. A few of his photos are presented here with more on display at his website.


5 Comments on Foto Friday – Creepy Crawlies

  1. Brian Temecula on Fri, Feb 19th 2010 5:11 AM
  2. So scary! I hate spiders! I don’t even like little spiders, but big ones really freak me out.

  3. Rodger on Fri, Feb 19th 2010 7:44 AM
  4. In 1991 at the En Gedi Camping Grounds (Dead Sea) while walking at night along a overhead lighted pathway I came across what I thought was a large spider that scurried along the path away from me. I ran towards it for further identification but it ran faster than I could then disapeared into the undergrowth.
    I hadn’t seen such a creature before and told the rest of my collegues about what I had seen, but they didn’t believe me, especially when I said it was the size of my out stretched hand. Today your photo of the Cerbalus aravensis proves what I had seen. Mystery solved. Thank you.

  5. Maya (from How To Be Israeli) on Fri, Feb 19th 2010 11:08 AM
  6. cute snail… terrifying spider. How could they just now be discovering something so huge?

    I’m also pretty sure I saw it in my shower the other day… ;)

  7. Rodger on Fri, Feb 19th 2010 9:35 PM
  8. In regard of my previous comment in error..
    Ops, when I said, … the size of my out stretched hand, it should have read ” the size of the out stretched palm of my hand.” Sorry, but now amended. Thank you.

  9. Rachel on Mon, Feb 22nd 2010 10:24 AM
  10. Last summer we found a large hairy Tarantula-type spider in our Tel Aviv synagogue. Getting rid of it included a lot of discussion about the value of life, the pros and cons of whacking it with a broom, etc. — but it was small by these standards!

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