Carparachne aureoflava (Wheeling spider)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthropoda > Arachnomorpha > Cheliceriformes > Chelicerata > Euchelicerata > Arachnida > Araneae > Araneomorpha > Family: Sparassidae (huntsman spiders) > Genus: Carparachne

Carparachne aureoflava (Wheeling spider)

Carparachne aureoflava (Wheeling spider). [photo John Leroy ]


Native to Namibia. Smaller than Carparachne alba (body length averaging 18 mm as opposed to 24 mm in C. alba). Known as the wheeling spider due to its habit of folding its legs and cart wheeling down sand dunes to escape predatory spider hunting wasps. 

Distribution and habitat

Endemic to Namibia.


Known as the Wheeling spider due to its habit of folding its legs and cart-wheeling down sand dunes to escape predatory spider hunting wasps (Pompilidae). It can run at speeds of 0.9-1.4 metres per second for up to 2 metres and then has to rest for 10 seconds. Cartwheeling at 44 turns per minute allows it to cover a greater distance, at 1.5 metres per second down a dune slope of 15, allowing it to escape the wasp. See You Tube video of this wheeling behaviour.


The burrow consists of a long (478 mm) narrow tube bound together with silk.

Derivation of name

The genus name is in honour of a Bernard Carp; the Greek arachne means spider. The specific name is from Latin albus meaning white.



  • Henschel JR. 1990. Spiders wheel to escape. South African Journal of Science 86: 151152.
  • Henschel JR. 1994. Diet and foraging behaviour of huntsman spiders in the Namib dunes (Araneae: Heteropodidae). Journal of Zoology 234(2): 239-251. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1994.tb06072.x

Text by Norman Larsen

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