Heteropodais agenusofspidersin the familySparassidae, the huntsman spiders. They are mainly distributed intropicalAsia and Australia, while at least one species,H. venatoria, has acosmopolitan distribution,andH. variegataoccurs in theMediterranean.
These spiders catch and eat insects, but in a laboratory study one species readily ate fish andtadpoleswhen offered,andH. venatoriahas been known to eatscorpionsandbats.
The largest species in the genus,H. maxima, is about 4.6 centimeters long but has a legspan of up to 30 centimeters, therefore being the largest of any extant spider.
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