Field of screams: The mystery of Maningrida’s 25,000 tarantulas

The Sydney Morning Herald 23 juni 2015

It’s not so much a field of dreams as a field of nightmares: A 10 kilometre floodplain infested with 25,000 tarantulas.

Arachnologist Dr Robert Raven thinks the discovery of this Northern Territory tarantula mega cluster is a good thing for the remote community of Maningrida, 500 kilometres east of Darwin.

Maningrida locals in the tarantula field 500 km east of Darwin.

He says the tarantulas’ venom – powerful enough to kill a tiny animal and certainly strong enough to induce nausea and vomiting in humans – could be exploited for medical research: ”Pharmaceutical applications could apply across a broad spectrum.”

Dr Raven said that such a high concentration of spider was ”so far off the scale, it’s unbelievable. Normally, I find two or three hundred spiders in one spot.”

The causes of the tarantula population explosion remain a mystery.


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