Ugh! Video shows giant tarantula preying on opossum

Katie Ramirez
March 2, 2019

In the video above, doctoral candidate Mike Grundler describes the tarantula as "about the size of a dinner plate" and says that seeing the spider eating a mammal was "very unexpected".

They published other gruesome images of spiders with unusual prey.

In addition to the opossum, the article details instances of arthropod predators - mostly large spiders along with a few centipedes and a giant water bug - preying on vertebrates such as frogs and tadpoles, lizards and snakes, a statement from the university said.

"These are not common events to observe, period".

"Invertebrates preying on vertebrates is common, but it's generally not assumed to be an important source of mortality for amphibians and reptiles", said von May, a biologist at the University of MI.

Researchers captured video and photographs of battles between predators and prey in the rainforest.

A rainforest expedition led by a team from the University of MI found "the stuff of nightmares" when it recorded a series of giant jungle bug predators during their most savage moments. "It's a puzzle that's fascinated biologists for a long time".

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"What stands out at night is the amount of spiders you see on all sorts of substrates-on the ground, on leaves, on branches", von May said. "We'll frequently find them preying on large crickets and grasshoppers".

Researchers studying interactions between predators and their prey in the Amazon rainforest spotted one encounter with a giant spider that'll leave arachnophobes trembling.

"We are influencing the planet at a very fast rate, turning vast tracts of rainforest into soybean farms and altering even "untouched" rainforest with the invisible hand of climate change", he said. "[.] Documenting predation by spiders and other arthropods in these ecosystems is essential even if many predaceous arthropods remain undescribed and are mostly classified as morphospecies, because they provide insights into an important source of vertebrate mortality that appears to be less common in extra-tropical communities".

The spider that killed the opossum had a body that's bigger than a baseball, and that doesn't count the legs.

"We were pretty ecstatic and shocked, and we couldn't really believe what we were seeing", Michael Grundler, a Ph.D. student at U of M and contributing author, said in a statement. According to researchers, while they knew that what they were witnessing was special, at the moment they were unaware that it was the first observation.

Grundler's sister Maggie pulled out her cellphone and shot photos and some video.

It all may seem like nightmare fuel - especially when you're in the Amazon in the dark, but Rabosky said that's not the case. But their diets can actually be a lot more varied than that - and biologists have observed a spider smorgasbord that will blow your mind.

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