Spiders in Philippines: The Good, The Bad & The Deadly

Spiders in Philippines
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Thinking about travelling to the Philippines to visit a stunning beach and go swimming in crustal blue waters? This all sounds lovely and we don’t want to scare you, but this country is home to some pretty frighting animals and in this article, we’re going to be telling you about the top five most common spiders in the Philippines.

We’ll tell you everything you need and probably everything you don’t want to know about them before revealing which one is the most dangerous. So, let’s get to it and see what spiders there are in the Philippines!

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Argiope Versicolor:

The argiope versicolor also known commonly as a St Andrew’s cross spider is a harmless spider that lives in the Philippines. The Spider gets its ‘St Andrew’ name from its colourful body. In the Philippines this spider is known as the gagambang ekis Female spiders’ abdomen is white and yellow striped and has orange legs with dark bands and she will usually sit with legs held spread-eagle in an ‘X’ shape reminiscent of the St Andrew’s cross.

These spiders do have venom in them but if a human is bitten by one then it won’t pose a serious threat. As these spiders generally aren’t dangerous, unless the spider is being aggravated then it will have no intention of biting humans and if it does then it will do it in defence. The bite has been compared to a bee sting with redness and swelling.

Web Weaving:

This spider can create a zig-zag web which is made of white silk and will vary on size depending how old the spider is. Argiope versicolor females can grow in size from anywhere between 10mm-16mm and you might be surprised to know that males will only grow 3-4mm.

These spiders in the Philippines are orb-weaver spiders which essentially means that they make spiral wheel-shaped webs. The webs built can be 30-50mm. The zigzag lines of their webs match their leg positions, which lead some people to suggest that this helps give the appearance of longer legs.

Once the spider has finished creating their web. they will sit in the middle of their web and wait for prey. When the prey is caught the spider will then wrap silk around it so it can’t escape and will then bite it, injecting venom into the body. The argiope versicolo diet consists of moths, bees, flies, butterflies and beetles.

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Spiders in the Philippines
Photo credit: Jan Kubita via Unsplash

Black Widows:

A spider that’s found in numerous locations across the world, and unluckily for you, they’re also found in the Philippines. Black widows are most commonly found outside in hollow logs, sheds, fence posts and in abandoned animal burrows. Black widows have very distinctive features so it’s pretty easy to spot one of these. They are notorious for their hourglass shape on their abdomen which is shiny with red spots.

Black widows can grow to be 2.5cm long and can live for up to three years! If you’ve ever wondered where the name comes from, it’s because after the female has finished mating with the male, she will then eat him – really, it’s true!

These poisonous spiders will prey on insects. They will make a small puncture in the insect’s body and will then suck out the liquid inside. Black widows can be attacked by mud dauber wasps and other insects. If you happen to come across a black widow, then you’ll be happy to know that they aren’t aggressive towards humans but if they feel threatened then they will bite.

Black widows have poor eyesight so instead of using their eyes to look for prey they will instead feel vibrations when something is close. These spiders will build their webs in dark places, so prey is likely to walk into the trap. When a black widow spider is trapped, it is unlikely to bite, preferring to play dead or flick silk at the potential threat, bites occur when they cannot escape.

What if I’ve Been Bitten?

You’ll know if you’ve been bitten by one as the black widow bites produces muscle pain, nausea and mild paralysis of the diaphragm, which makes breathing difficult. There will probably be burning, swelling and redness. These bites can be fatal in young children and elderly people so get it checked out as soon as possible.

Black widow spider
Photo credit: Skeeze via Pixabay

Argiope Appensa:

These are common species of spiders in the Philippines and come from the same family as the St Andrew’s spider we spoke about. Argiope appensa spiders are more commonly known as ‘Hawaiian garden spiders’ and can be found on different islands on the Western Pacific Ocean.

This spider can live practically anywhere and can be found living near the coast and in upland forests. In the warm summer months, these spiders can also be found near roadsides and cultivated areas.

Female argiope appensa’s will grow larger than the male and this species shows sexual dimorphism between the male and the female. For those who don’t know, sexual dimorphism is where a male and a female of the same species have noticeably different appearances which may include colour, size, weight and sometimes behavioural differences.

Females are strikingly black and yellow and will grow 5.1–6.4 cm long whilst the males are brown and will only reach 1.9 cm long.

To make their webs, argiope appensa’s will construct it mainly in bushes, branches and human constructions. When their webs are made, they’re usually very big and shaped like a zigzag that’s made from silk, these are called stabilimentum and it’s usually made as a warning device to prevent birds from destroying the web.

This spider is also venomous but not harmful to humans, just like the St Andrew’s spider. Even though this is a big spider, its completely harmless if you’re not bothering it and it will only bite a human if it feels threatened, so if you do come across it, it’s best to stay away!

Argiope Appensa
Photo credit: Paolobon140 @ Wikimedia

Batik Golden Web Spider:

Batik golden web spiders also known by their scientific name of Nephila antipodiana are a species of golden web spider. These spiders have an ultra-thick body and long twig like legs. The body of this spider is grey with yellow spots and the legs are jet black; and the body is where this spider gets its name from.

You may have heard of batik which is used is an Indonesian technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth. Batik has different designs and one of them is spots which is where this spider gets its name.

This spider is an orb weaved spider just like argiope versicolor so their web is shaped like a spiral wheel. When we say these spiders can produce large webs, we’re not kidding – the batik golden web spiders web has been seen to start at the top of a 6-metre tree and stretch as much as 2 metres across. Whereas most other spider webs are short-lived, these impressive structures can last for years.

A female spider’s abdomen can grow up 30mm long which is over double the size of the male which is 5mm. Just like the black widow, in almost all nephila species, when this spider has finished mating with the male then there is a chance that the female will eat him. For the male to avoid the female eating them they will present her with a parcel of food to eat. Whilst the female is distracted, the male will fertilise her and then retreat to a safe distance.

This spider is considered harmless and will only bite as a defence form. There will be a slight pain with redness but nothing that will need urgent medical attention.

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Batik Golden Web Spider
Image by ken lecoq from Pixabay

Portia Labiata:

Lastly, probably the scariest spider in the Philippines is the portia labiata which is a jumping spider! This spider is medium sized and has better vision than a cat! We don’t want to scare you but the portia libiata has eight eyes! Yes eight! The two large ones in the centre-and-front position and the other six are secondary eyes, positioned along the sides of the carapace and acting mainly as movement detectors – this is not a spider to be messed with!

Their main eyes provide vision more acute than a cat’s during the day and ten times more acute than a dragonfly! The front part of the spider is an orangey brown colour and the back part is brown. Females are bigger than males with their bodies sizing 7-10mm and males 5-7.5mm long. Females are also generally better at hunting than males.

Most jumping spiders will prey mainly on insects as they have a narrow gut meaning that liquid ‘foods’ are easier to swallow. Females will also build webs to catch prey directly. These spider will prey on other webbed spiders, insects and even other jumping spiders!

These spiders are venomous towards humans and prey and is extremely powerful towards other spiders! When the portia labiata has caught another spider it will stab it, the prey will then back away but the venom will start to take effect paralysing the other spider. Once the spider is completely immobilised then the portia labiata will then eat it.

Occasionally a portia labiata is killed or injured while pursuing prey up to twice their size, however their tough skin can prevent injury.

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salticidae
Photo credit: 12019 via Pixabay

Are There Tarantulas in Philippines?

There are a variety of tarantulas in the Philippines with the most common of them being the orphnaecus philippinus or as it’s known in the Philippines, the Philippine tangerine. The spider gets its name from the colour of the hair on its body being a tangerine colour.

These tarantulas aren’t for the faint-hearted as they can grow 7-8cm! They’re short hair so it gives them the appearance of velvet like fur. These spiders in the Philippines are common as household pets but there are different wildlife laws which prohibit the trading, collection and possession of spiders without permits – we think we’ll stick to a kitten as our household pet.

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Are There Venomous Spiders in Philippines?

The venomous spiders to look out for in the Philippines are the widow spiders. Even-though there are a whole host of venomous spiders in the Philippines, some of which we have spoken about in this article, the majority of them will not pose a threat that could cause a serious medical problem like the widows.

The spider will only bite if they feel threatened so if you come across a spider of any kind, it’s best to leave it be or if it’s in a hotel room then ask somebody from the hotel to come and remove it. If you do get bitten then it will feel like a bee sting and probably be red and inflamed for a few hours but nothing serious should come of it. If the reaction is bad and hasn’t started to go down in a few hours, then seek medical attention.

Spiders in Philippines: The Good, The Bad & The Deadly
Photo credit: fietzfotos via Pixabay

Spiders in Philippines – The Conclusion:

We’re almost at the end of the article and by now you’ll now what the five most common spiders in the Philippines are but have you guessed what the most dangerous is? If you haven’t, we’ll give you a clue, it’s big, black and it eats its mating parter! That’s right, we’re talking about the black widow.

This spider is considered the most dangerous as its venom can cause serious complication to your body if bitten by one, unlike the other we have spoken about. If you come across one of these then remember to never pick it up or try and move it as it will sense fear and be likely to bite.

Have you enjoyed reading this article? If so then please leave your thoughts in the comments box. If you want to get to know more about different areas in the Philippines, then check out the article below!

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