Palystes superciliosus

L. Koch, 1875

[= Palystes natalius]

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

Palystes superciliosus. [image N. Larsen ]


Body length = 25-30 mm. It has slightly darker markings dorsally and the sternum is of the same colour as the spider with a single dark traverse bar between the second coxa.

Distribution and habitat

Palystes superciliosus is the most common and widespread species of the genus. It is distribution ranges from Kwazulu-Natal then westwards to Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo, Gauteng and south through the Free State to the Eastern and Western Cape. Its favoured habitat is scrubland and savannah woodland and it is also typically found in houses.


Palystes superciliosus (formerly Palystes natalius) produces the well known "bag of leaves" egg cocoon as does Palystes castaneus.  

Medical importance

Stories that this spiders' bite is of medical importance has been disproved and is infact no worse than a bee sting. Guinea pigs that were bitten died when the original research was done. A subsequent experiment revealed that those immobilised survived and that unimmolised guinea pigs died from stress.


  • Newlands G, Martindale CB. 1981. Wandering spider bite - much ado about nothing. South African Medical Journal 60(4): 142.

Text by Norman Larsen

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