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Palm-sized spider found at Ohio preserve

Aug. 16, 2014 @ 06:14 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio — It’s big, hairy and has orange fangs that carry venom. And it’s been seen in southern Ohio.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that a group of naturalists recently discovered a silver-haired Carolina wolf spider in its burrow at a preserve in Adams County, more than 100 miles south of Columbus. They say it’s the first reported sighting of a Carolina wolf spider in Ohio in six decades. They’re more likely to be found in the southern United States.

“It’s the holy grail of arachnids,” said Jim McCormac, who works for the state Department of Natural Resources.

The palm-sized spider has eight eyes, white and black stripes, and orange fangs that carry venom to paralyze insects for food.  It’s not considered a threat to humans.

“He wasn’t aggressive at all,” McCormac said.

The naturalists found the spider during a recent trip to the Edge of Appalachia Preserve System, run in Adams County by the Cincinnati Museum Center and the Nature Conservancy. McCormac noticed a burrow, and others in the group had a borescope, a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera. They sent it into the hole, and the wolf spider was soon staring back.

John Howard of Adams County realizes that the finding might not be as exciting to some people as it is to the naturalists.

“If you don’t like spiders, this thing is a real horror story,” Howard said. “But if you think they’re cool, this is really cool.”

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