Watch a Gigantic Tarantula Drag a Baby Opossum Away to Devour It

Tropical Spiders Cause'Surprising Amount of Death' Hunting Opossums Frogs and More

His research team was surprised to find the bodies of two snakes that had been attacked by centipedes, but what was even more baffling was a tarantula the size of a dinner plate preying upon a small opossum.

The researchers published their observations in the February issue of the Amphibian & Reptile Conservation journal (PDF link).

Talking about the scene was University of MI evolutionary biologist Daniel Rabosky, who said, "This is an underappreciated source of mortality among vertebrates".

For small animals in the tropics, spiders and their arthropod cousins are responsible for "a surprising amount of death", scientists recently discovered. The opossum was still struggling weakly even with the tarantula grasping its neck then, but it eventually stopped kicking after about 30 seconds.

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It's something straight out of a horror movie: A giant tarantula - the size of a dinner plate - grabs an opossum and drags it through the Amazon rainforest.

Maggie Grundler, Michael's sister, pulled out her cellphone and started shooting video of the encounter.

Upon reviewing footage of the rare occurrence, Robert Voss, a mammologist at the American Museum of Natural History confirmed that it appeared to be the first-ever documentation of "a large mygalomorph spider [tarantula] preying upon opossums", National Geographic reports.

"Predation of small vertebrates by arthropods has been documented in several lowland rainforest sites, yet our knowledge of these interactions remains limited, especially given the diversity of vertebrate prey and potential arthropod predators in species-rich tropical communities", the researchers explained in their paper.

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"We looked over and we saw a large tarantula on top of an opossum", said Grundler, a co-author of the article.

"It may seem like everything is killing each other, but at least there is this one case in which frogs have figured out how to live with a spider". To do this, they carried out night surveys by walking through the forest with flashlights and headlamps and scanning the foliage for signs of activity.

"We were pretty ecstatic and shocked, and we couldn't really believe what we were seeing", Michael Grundler said in the statement. "We knew we were witnessing something pretty special, but we weren't aware that it was the first observation until after the fact".

A team of researchers traveled to the Madre De Dios region of the Amazon rainforest in southeastern Peru to survey predator-prey relationships in the Amazon rainforest.

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Spiders are extremely diverse predators and they are known to eat creatures from all the major vertebrate groups, including birds, mammals, reptiles and fish.

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