Not So Itsy Bitsy

Largest Fossil Spider Found

Can we call it Charlotte? Researchers in China have found the largest fossil spider yet, dating back to the age of dinosaurs. The spider, named Nephia jurassica, is thought to be around 165 million years old—the oldest known species of golden orb-weavers, the largest web-weaving spiders alive today. The fossil is about as large as its modern relatives, with a body one inch wide and legs that reach up to 2.5 inches long. Golden orb-weavers today are mainly tropical, so researchers now believe the ancient environment must have been similarly lush. Although this is the largest fossil spider found yet, it is not the oldest—two species found in England date back 310 million years.