A Massive Spider Carried Off an Entire Opossum in Footage Captured in the Amazon
There's at least one opossum out there feeling it when Melisandre says, "The night is dark and full of terrors." Every year, Daniel Rabosky, evolutionary biologist at the University of Michigan, and a team of biologists travel into the Amazon..
There's at least one opossum out there feeling it when Melisandre says, "The night is dark and full of terrors."
Every year, Daniel Rabosky, evolutionary biologist at the University of Michigan, and a team of biologists travel into the Amazon to study the region's biodiversity. His team recently trekked through the Peruvian Amazon and saw some incredible things. Among those observations was a massive tarantula dragging an opossum away for a rather large snack.
In an interview, he said the spider's body was larger than a baseball. You can see the, uh, interaction between the tarantula and opossum near the start of the video above. (There's also an extended video of the spider dragging the flaccid marsupial through the jungle at CNN.) With legs spread, he added, the spider is as large as a dinner plate.
During the trip, the team recorded 15 rare predator-prey interactions -- including the opossum -- that are part of a journal article titled, "Ecological interactions between arthropods and small vertebrates in a lowland Amazon rainforest."
"This is an underappreciated source of mortality among vertebrates," Rabosky said. "A surprising amount of death of small vertebrates in the Amazon is likely due to arthropods such as big spiders and centipedes."
The video of the opossum, filmed by Maggie Grundler, was confirmed by an expert at the American Museum of Natural History to be the "first documentation of a large mygalomorph spider preying on an opossum," according to a release from the university. Though, that doesn't do a whole lot to reduce the nightmarish feeling of watching a spider carry away something that big.