Hi there, this spider crawled out of my bathtub in Malibu, California. It was about as long as my pointer finger from knuckle to fingertip, so it was big, about 9 cm (3.5 inches) or so. Do you know what species it could be? Thank you! Sophia
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Hi Sophia, That is actually not a spider. It’s something called a wind scorpion. Like spiders and scorpions, they are arachnids, but before you panic, despite their large size, they are harmless. They don’t have a stinger like a true scorpion, and they don’t even have venom like most spiders. The clue that it is not a normal spider is that it appears to have ten legs, not eight like a spider. The front two legs are actually greatly modified mouthparts. But they won’t hurt you with them. They use them to grab prey. They hold the prey against their mouth and chew it up. If you held one tight, it might try to bite you, but it can’t really do any damage, and again, it has no venom.
Wind scorpions eat insects, for the most part, so pest control companies recommend releasing them outside, where they can eat bugs in your yard or garden. http://www.onlinepestcontrol.com/get-rid-of-wind-scorpions/
They are very fast, so it might be hard to catch it, but the usual technique is to put a glass or bowl over it, and then slip a piece of cardboard under the glass. Carry the carboard and glass outside and release the wind scorpion.
I’m not sure what species you have, but it seems likely it’s something in the genus Chanbria: bugguide.net/node/view/1122374/bgpage
Thank you to the people at BugGuide.net for identifying this! Tom
Thank you Tom! I appreciate you taking the time to look into this for me. Very cool!! Sophia