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Heteropoda maxima 1.jpg
Heteropoda maxima
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Araneomorphae
Family: Sparassidae
Genus: Heteropoda
Latreille, 1804

see text

Heteropoda is a genus of spiders in the family Sparassidae, the huntsman spiders. They are mainly distributed in tropical Asia and Australia, while at least one species, H. venatoria, has a cosmopolitan distribution,[1] and H. variegata occurs in the Mediterranean.[2]

These spiders catch and eat insects, but in a laboratory study one species readily ate fish and tadpoles when offered,[1] and H. venatoria has been known to eat scorpions and bats.[3]

The largest species in the genus, H. maxima, is about 4.6 centimeters long but has a legspan of up to 30 centimeters, therefore being the largest of any extant spider.[4]


As of 2006, there were about 180 to 190 species in the genus, but the group requires taxonomic study and revision.[5][6]

Species include: