Creepy-crawly that predates dinosaurs spotted in West Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Creepy-crawly that predates dinosaurs spotted in West Kelowna

A purse web spider found in the yard of a West Kelowna home.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Ami Bellingham
May 01, 2021 - 8:26 AM

A spider that has barely changed in the last 400 million years was recently spotted in a West Kelowna backyard.

Ami Bellingham said her son Keaton Bellingham, 11, kicked a rock in the front yard April 29 and revealed the “disgustingly huge” eight-legged creature.

Her Facebook post sharing a photo of the spider caught the attention of Glenrosa residents, who left more than 80 comments on the post.

The spider, roughly half an inch in size, is a purse web spider, said Stuart Brown, with the Bug Guys. 

READ MORE: Meet the flying bug that hunts spiders in the B.C. Interior

“They are a group of spiders that have remained relatively unchanged since long before the time of the dinosaurs and even pre-date tarantulas,” he said via email.

Purse web spiders spend most of their lives underground and make a thick mat of webbing that comes together like a purse.

The spiders haven't undergone any drastic evolutionary changes in the last 400 million years, other than they're smaller than their pre-historic ancestors, Brown said.

READ MORE: 5 nasty bugs in the B.C. Interior you might want to stay on top of

“All spiders are venomous but most are harmless. The black widow has the most potent venom found in any of B.C.'s spiders but they are still harmless to the vast majority of people.”

Purse web spiders are common in the area, and are often found by gardeners who dig them up, he said.

Currently, Keaton has drilled some holes in the bottom of a bucket and made a home for the spider in there, Ami said.

For more information on spiders in the Thompson Okanagan region, read the previous iNFOnews story.


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