I do have to share this EXTREMELY ALARMING story however. To me, it is the most horrific news of 2009 so far. Continue reading if you dare, but I warn you, it's extremely disturbing and includes a photo. Taken from the Castro Valley Forum website:
Unusual 8-Legged Visitor Pays Visit to CV Family Christmas Eve
By : Robert Souza : 1/6/09
After home returning from Neighborhood Church on Christmas Eve, Steve George and his family had an unexpected visitor. But it wasn’t Santa Claus.
“We took a few blankets with us and when we returned, my wife unfolded one of them and felt something underneath,” George told The Forum. “It was a pretty good sized spider, and pretty unusual to see a spider that size around here.”
Thinking on his feet, George trapped the spider with a plastic cup, and did some arachnid homework on the Internet.
Known as Zoropsis spinimana, the spider George caught is a native of Northern Africa and the Mediterranean coastal countries. Males of the species reach a length of about 10 mm while females can reach up to 15 mm.
Like most zoropsid cribellate (spiders that spin a wooly-appearing tangled mass of finer threads instead of a single sticky-thread strand), spinimana is a wandering spider that does not build a web, but hunts freely with a unique arrangement of two rows of eyes that are more equal in size than other spiders.
“Each time we get a range extension is exciting for us,” said expert Darrell Ubick of the California Academy of Sciences, Ubick has been studying the spider’s migration and how the species has been settling in the Bay Area for the past 10 years.OMG did you read that last line???? Here is the horrifying picture!
This was the first sighting in Castro Valley. So far, Zoropsis spinimana has been encountered in Oakland, North Berkeley, San Mateo and San Francisco, since its arrival the U.S. in 1995.
Ubick believes it probably traveled to the Bay Area with a furniture shipment or in a vacationer’s suitcase. The Zoropsis spinimana appears to be harmless and is normally found under rocks and bark on forest perimeters, where it hunts for prey during the night. Since the spider cannot survive in harsh climates, human houses where temperatures are moderate and food crumbs can be readily found are preferred.