November 2021 Spider of the Month

Our November spider of the month is this huntsman spider (Sparassidae), photographed by Chantelle Bosch at the Serra Cafema camp on the Namibia-Angola border near Epupa Falls. It is most likely May sp., which is a huntsman genus that occurs only in South Africa and Namibia.

This is a relatively new genus, which was described in 2015 by Jäger and Krehenwinkel, and there are only four described species (M. ansie, M. bruno, M. norm, and M. rudy).

Not much is known about their behaviour, but they have been observed to dig burrows in dunes, their preferred habitat. These burrows are 20 to 30 cm long and are closed with a lid. They are a protected species in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Witsand Nature Reserve, which is where the type species May bruno was first discovered.

When we asked Chantelle to tell us more about this find, she had this to say: “I often find ‘white ladies’ around Swakopmund, but got a treat last year to visit Serra Cafema, and was astounded by the beauty of THIS spider! I was so excited it took a while before I even remembered the camera! I really don’t know much about them apart from the fact that they are INCREDIBLE characters. This one posed wonderfully to get photos from all angles. When I picked it up gently there was NO sign of aggression, but the SPEED at which it ran off later was something to admire. I work as a Living Desert Guide for Tommy’s tours in Swakopmund and track small things on a daily basis: snakes, scorpions, geckos, lizards. We live by the motto of ‘Respect for EVERYTHING, great and small’ – do not just respect that which is bigger or that which is smaller that looks ‘cute’, but respect ALL life.”

Congratulations, Chantelle. We hope to see much more of the treasures that Namibia, especially the desert areas, has to offer.