By Maui Now Staff
State agricultural officials say a venomous spider was captured by agents from the US Customs and Border Protection in Honolulu on Monday, April 13, 2015 after it was found in a foreign container arriving in Hawaiʻi.
Authorities say the spider was found in a container of granite and flagstone arriving from Brazil that was being off-loaded in Honolulu.
CBP Agents reportedly sealed the container and immediately turned the spider over to entomologists at the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture, who identified it as a venomous Brazilian wandering spider.
Agricultural officials say the brown-colored spider had a leg span that measured about 3.5 inches.
Yesterday, a second container from the same shipment was opened and another spider was found and killed immediately by a worker unloading the container, according to the state Department of Agriculture.
“The spider was destroyed to the extent it could not be positively identified, but the worker said it looked like the photo of the Brazilian wandering spider,” according to information released by department officials.
Authorities say the second container was sealed and quarantined. The Plant Quarantine Branch is working with the importer to have the containers shipped back to Brazil.
“This incident emphasizes the importance of coordinated efforts between federal and state inspection agencies in preventing invasive species from entering Hawaii,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture in a press release statement. “We each have our own inspection areas and duties, but communication is key in protecting the state,” he said.
DOA officials say the Brazilian wandering spider is found in most areas of South America; however, it is not established in North America.
Authorities say they are considered one of the most venomous spiders in the world and may grow to have a leg span of five inches. “Their venom is a strong neurotoxin that can cause increased blood pressure and heart rate, vomiting, blurred vision and intense pain where the bite occurs,” DOA officials said in a press release.
“This species of spider does not spin webs, but wanders around for their food – thus the name,” the announcement said. “Their diet consists of insects, other spiders, lizards and small rodents.”
Suspected invasive species should be reported immediately to the state’s toll-free pest hotline at 643-PEST (7378).