My SymiWillSymi Spiders 29/04/2009, 22:30

If you own a house on Symi, be it down by the sea or high up in Horio, you will eventually meet a Symi Spider (capital letters intended!) Fortunately, I have only had them in my yard and not yet in the house, and I hope this is because of my large family of Symi Cats (capitals also intended) who, while being well-fed, can't ignore their instinct to chase and kill big, juicy, hairy things that can run fast. When the summer starts, I often find my thoughts turning to Symi Spiders. They're not out and about often, but May/June time seem to be the most likely for spotting them, and again in soon, it will be spider time again. Last summer, one ran up a leg of Christos's jeans (I kid you not!) and he squished it behind his knee, standing up to let the thing fall out. I ran screaming like a wee girlie. Anyway...

I visited a lady in Selahouri the other day to vaccinate her cat (as one does) and afterwards, while admiring her garden with its abundance of fat small spiders, I asked if she was ever visited by the larger variety. I am glad I asked because she was able to tell me something I've been wanting to know for years...the name of the species of these beasts. It seems that some time ago she posted a dead one to the boffins at the Royal Entomological Society in London for identification and it didn't take them long.

So, we can all say welcome to Chaetopelma Aegyptiacum, a tarantula (no less) that is known to tarantula lovers as the Cypriot Grey and which is, officially, the largest spider in Europe (upto 15 cm long).

Their bite is, I have been told, not too painful and definitely not fatal and, in any case, they're not keen on the taste of tourists. Speaking with my neighbour the other day, she told me that she has many in her garden that live in little holes in the ground. When we were told the name, I thought Chaetopelma meant "Kato Pelma", Greek for under the sole of one's foot...I shall never walk barefoot in my neighbour's garden...not ever.

They are often mistaken for the almost identical species Chaetopelma Gracile which is a bit more common. Whatever. They are all thoroughly disgusting and the stuff of nightmares. If I haven't put you off coming to Symi this year, just remember to not accidentally take one back home in your suitcase.


(5) Comments

  1. Lorna said on 30/04/2009, 12:05

    I luv ,em

  2. welsh spartan said on 01/05/2009, 18:16

    Unfortunately, came upon one in my bathroom last year.....they are rather LARGE..and I did utter some expletives...only seen the one in the last ten years, and I hope it's ten years or more 'till I see another one!

  3. Simon said on 08/08/2009, 21:38

    After 15 yr's of visiting Symi, i finally saw one, down on the terrace, making its way to the night Jasmine plant!

  4. Will said on 09/08/2009, 05:48

    please post the photo, Mr S!

  5. lizzykitch said on 06/11/2011, 13:15


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