As anyone who has met me will be aware I, unlike many of the people I meet in my day to day work, absolutely LOVE spiders and spidery creatures! Costa Rica was possibly THE perfect destination for me because we found and photographed so many amazing species, a few of my favourites of which I will share here! This first one, found in the grounds of La Selva Biological Station, was simply stunning and is a species of spider known as Micrathena sexspinosa:

Micrathena sexspinosa - zoomed out

What an absolutely beautiful spider and an amazing web too! I had never seen a spider with such extraordinarily long abdominal protuberances, a fantastic example of predation-preventing spines just like many of the stick insect species that I regularly show in schools and during other visits!

Micrathena sexspinosa - zoomed in

This next spider was found in the same area but like many species it was actively hunting on a tree rather than catching food in a web. This is something I spend lots of time talking to children about as many incorrectly believe that all spiders are web-spinners – definitely not the case!

Unidentified tree hunting spider

The picture below is of one of the species of Central American huntsman spider, two of which were found next to each other hanging underneath a large log directly above our heads whilst some of us were enjoying a swim in a freshwater pool in the grounds of Luna Lodge on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula! Needless to say some people got out of the water very quickly, I certainly did but only to grab my camera to get back in and get some photographs of them! This one is about the size of my hand, an absolute beauty!

Central American huntsman spider
Central American huntsman spider - closeup

Here is its mate, another gorgeous animal if you like this kind of thing (which of course I do)!

Central American huntsman spider - mate

Here are the two of them together hanging underneath the log overhanging the pool:

Pair of Central American huntsman spiders

Here they are taken from the same position but with my camera’s flash, showing the amazing ‘eye-shine’ which many animals demonstrate in the rainforest, making them especially easy to find at night when you are wearing a head torch!

Central American huntsman spider eye shine

Finally here is Nick Baker photographing them, he was as excited by this find as myself! These were the two largest huntsman spiders we saw during the trip and, although they cut short some people’s enjoyment of this lovely freshwater pool, I was absolutely delighted to have seen them!

Nick Baker photographing central American huntsman spiders
Nick Baker photographing central American huntsman spiders

Whilst these were the largest of the huntsman spiders we found they were by no means the only ones, in fact we saw LOADS of them! Here are just a few more examples including some smaller juveniles, very often found hunting around the pools and streams in the rainforest:

Juvenile huntsman spider
Juvenile huntsman spider
Juvenile huntsman spider
Juvenile huntsman spider

For pictures of more amazing Costa Rican spiders and other arachnids please click HERE!