A 600,000 square kilometres of wetlands in Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and China called the Greater Mekong (rainforests and wetlands along the Mekong River) is home to a number of new animal species discovered and seen by humans for the first time. More than a thousand new species have been discovered in the Greater Mekong area in the last decade.
One of the most remarkable species that was found in Laos is a Huntsman Spider whose legs are about 30 centimetres long and is described to be as big as a dinner plate. According to Wiki,
“Huntsman spider is a common name given to the family Sparassidae (formerly Heteropodidae). The larger specimens of these spiders are sometimes referred to as Wood Spiders, due to their common preference for inhabiting woody places (forest, mine shafts, woodpiles).
These eight-eyed spiders are found in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, Florida, and Hawaii, and possibly in many other tropical and semi-tropical regions. They can be found as far north as England, Sweden and Wales .”
A WWF report indicates that 519 plants, 15 mammals, 89 frogs, 279 fish, 46 lizards, 22 snakes, 4 birds, 4 turtles and 2 salamanders were discovered in the Greater Mekong area.
Here is an Animal Planet video on the Huntsman Spiders found down under:
Here are a couple of images of the Huntsman Spider (credit : Wikipedia)