Tropical spider found in Sussex supermarket

The Argus: The huntsman spider did not make it onto the shop floor The huntsman spider did not make it onto the shop floor

An eagle-eyed shop worker spotted an eight-legged hitchhiker which had made its way from the tropics to the UK.

The Shoreham Tesco employee saw a large spider which had somehow made its way into the country in a delivery of bananas last week.

Thankfully the spider was dead when it was discovered and the company insisted there was no chance of it reaching the shop floor.

The spider is thought to be a huntsman, also known as a banana spider or giant crab spider, which has a harmless though painful bite.

The British Arachnological Society describes on its website how they are often transported into the UK through banana shipments and are thought to have originated in Asia, where its closest relatives occur.

The large, brown, crab-like spiders are not native to Europe as it is too cold, but live in tropical and subtropical regions.

Adults have a body length of 2.2cm to 2.8cm and a leg span of 7cm to 12cm. Females are typically the larger of two the sexes.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We’re pleased that the correct procedures were followed and that the spider posed no threat to our colleagues or customers.”

The number of foreign spiders in Sussex is said to be increasing due to a succession of mild winters.

One of the species that enjoys the warmer weather is the infamous black widow, which is normally found in Central and North America. But many sightings are in fact false widows, similar looking but less dangerous.

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