One of the most beneficial creatures that can be found on the Hawaiian Islands as well as other temperate areas of the world is the cane spider. This fact is one that may be highly debatable with those who bear a strong dislike for arachnids.
However, once all of the hidden features of the creature are known, there will have to be at least a grudging admittance that they do, indeed, provide a useful part in the circle of life.
Many people are familiar with spiders that measure, at the most, approximately an inch in length. Spiders that spin webs, and then sit to wait patiently for dinner to arrive. Spiders that lay eggs within their silken and decorative webs that will produce the next generation of tiny spiderlettes to make new webs and advance their population.
Just because people are familiar with spiders doesn’t necessarily mean they are comfortable with spiders, however. There are a great number of people that are classified as having arachnophobia; a dreaded fear of spiders that is usually unfounded by personal experience yet very real, nonetheless.
The cane spider is a very unique member of the arachnid family. Its first distinguishing feature is its large size. Measuring around 3 to 4 inches in diameter, the sight of this creature is often enough to instill fear into humans. Its body is broad and heavy; its legs thick and heavy with the same extension found in crab legs.
Brown in color, the body is embellished with a dark colored design similar to a “V”, encircled with a thin line of white on their rounded backs. The entire body has a light covering of small hairs, and is flat in shape which enables the spider to fit into surprisingly small spaces.
The combination of the large size and the hairy body is enough to send shivers down the spine of an arachnophobiac, but add to their appearance the fact that these spiders can perform amazing feats with their eight legs and they are truly a frightening experience. The spiders move exceptionally quickly, are very agile and have been reported to jump as much as 5 feet.
As scary as they may appear, the canes are actually little to no threat to humans unless strongly threatened when they may bite. While they do possess venom, it creates no havoc to humans. Their best form of defense is to scurry away when faced with human encounters.
Unlike most arachnids, the canes do not spin webs. They are carnivorous hunters; feeding upon the likes of cockroaches and crickets among others. Their form of hunt is to lie in wait, normally on a flat surface, for the unsuspecting insect victim to wander by.
When the prey comes within a close range, the cane rushes into attack mode; injecting the hapless victim with poison to kill it. Cane spiders hunt mostly at night. Although many people may not agree, having cane spiders around the home can actually be beneficial in reducing the number of harmful insects that can carry disease.
Since they are web free, female canes must carry her eggs with her until they hatch. Numbering in the 200’s, the eggs are kept in a flat, disc shaped egg sack under the female’s body. During the incubation period, the female may remain largely immobile; likely due to the cumbersome location of the egg sack.
The cane spider is a valuable member in maintaining the natural balance of the insect world. Despite its fearsome appearance and quick movements that serve to instill fear in many people, the spider has beneficial qualities that should encourage people to refrain from killing them on sight and chase them out of the home instead.