WILLIAM ERVIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY WILLIAM ERVIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Red-kneed tarantula. View of a red-kneed tarantula (Eualthus or Brachypelma smithi) on a leaf. This large nocturnal spider lives in the forests of Central and South America, and preys on insects and other arthropods. Large tarantulas may prey on small lizards and mammals. They immobilise their prey using venom, which, contrary to popular belief, is no more harmful to humans than a wasp sting. They rarely stray far from the silk-lined burrow in the earth in which they live. They are hunted by a variety of mammals, lizards and birds, and defend themselves by scraping irritant hairs off their back using their legs. Photographed in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica.
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