(animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra >
Arthropoda > Arachnomorpha > Cheliceriformes > Chelicerata > Euchelicerata
> Arachnida > Araneae
> Araneomorpha > Family: Sparassidae (huntsman
spiders) > Genus: Palystes
Palystes castaneus is
common from Cape Town to Heidelberg in the Western Cape. It appears to be
more common in forested areas. and during November its egg cocoon is very
common in low vegetation and hedges. It is replaced by Palystes
scrub outside forested areas. 17-22mm.
It occurs mainly on plants where it hunts
various insects but is also regularly found in the home where they are fond of
hunting geckos (usually the common Marbled gecko, Afrogecko porphyreus). They usually appear in the home just before
the onset of rain and the males are regularly seen in August to December,
probably looking for females and also females busy foraging.
The female, in both Palystes castaneus and P.
superciliosus , constructs an egg sac consisting of a roundish bag made of
silk with leaves and twigs woven into it, which is about 60-100mm in size. The
construction of this nursery and the laying of eggs takes about 3-5 hours. The
eggs hatch inside and are protected within the bag of silk and leaves. During
this time the female guards her brood aggressively. Many a gardener has been
bitten by a protective Palystes mother. After about 21 days, the spiderlings
chew their way out of the sac to join the world. These egg sacs are a common
sight from about November to April. Mating takes place in early summer and the
spider will produce about 3 egg cases in her 2 year life.
Pompilid wasps hunt down and kill this spider. For more, see under