Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Imported 'Brazilian wandering spiders' in the Netherlands (Araneae: Ctenidae: Phoneutria).

Abstract

Due to an increasing attention for exotic species, more imported spiders are being presented for identification. In 2015, suddenly three imported spiders of the genus Phoneutria, the so-called 'Brazilian wandering spiders', were being affirmed by EIS Kenniscentrum Insecten (European Invertebrate Survey - the Netherlands). Two of these were collected and one only photographed. The two collected spiders could be identified as P. boliviensis. More research revealed three additional sightings of P. boliviensis, one from 2009 and two from 2015 as well. Of the spiders with a known introduction pathway, three were imported with fruits and one with cut flowers. Phoneutria species are of medical importance, because they possess an assertive way of defending themselves, fangs that can penetrate the human skin, and a hazardous poison. It is expected that more imports have occurred that have not been reported to arachnologists. People who work at companies that import plant products, especially bananas, from South- and Central-America should be aware and watchful for these incidental hitchhikers.