Scariest spiders: cannibal arachnids discovered | Nature | News

The deadly assassin arachnids have astounded scientists with their cannibal aggression and deadly killing strategy.

Instead of using webs to trap their prey, the lethal assassin spiders are equipped with gigantic jaws fitted with deadly fangs to plunge into their victims.

The weapon acts like a medieval war lance but has an added menace – it is poisonous.

Once the victim has been stabbed, the killer spider can hoist its wounded prey into the air until the venom squeezes out the last drop of life.

Scientists call the group Pelican Spiders because of the way their large jaws create a similar look to the water birds with beaks capable of holding huge amounts of fish.

Take a closer look at this terrifying individual and it also bears a striking resemblance to one of the most chilling Star Wars characters – the Droideka or Destroyer Droids.

Arachnophobes will not be sleeping any easier with the news today that 18 new species of Pelican Spiders have been officially identified by researchers.

The announcement comes in the scientific journal, ZooKeys, after research by Hannah Wood, curator of arachnids and myriapods at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, along with fellow expert Nikolaj Scharff, from the University of Copenhagen.

All of the newly described siders come from Madagascar and are part of a large family known as the Archaeidae, which are unique in having necks and have been on Earth for almost 100 million years.

They are native to Australia and South Africa as well as Madagascar where their lifestyles have come under fascinating scrutiny.

Dr Woods tells National Geographic how she he has seen Pelican Spiders in the wild, scurrying around other spiders’ lairs looking for food.

She said: “They wander through the forest at night and they wave their first pair of legs like a pair of large antennae. 

“They make these big figure-eights with them as they walk, and I think they’re searching for draglines.

“They’re kind of like…

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