a dozen visits to Analamazoatra (Perinet) Reserve in east-central
Madagascar over the years, it's still thrilling to make new discoveries
(for me) wandering those forest trails. Such was the case in late
October 2003 when my guide and long-term friend Julien pointed to a tree
branch overhanging a waterway. A cluster of leaves were 'glued'
together in a bunch. Pulling it over and persuading the occupant
to show itself, I was greeted by this incredibly handsome spider. It
was slow and deliberate in its movements as I closed in for some macro
shots. Julien warned me to keep my distance because he said it's
believed that this type of spider can spit venom. I never saw any
attempt at that kind of aggressiveness, from either its front or rear
ends; I'm guessing that the local belief has some kind of basis in fact,
and that maybe the spider 'fires' silk or feces, or just irritating hairs,
This appears to be some kind of arboreal huntsman spider, even though it looks at first glance like a 'tree tarantula'. I also noticed that the 2nd right leg was less hairy, possibly recently regenerated and still growing out its new coat. The animal's body was about two inches (5 cm) long without the legs, big enough to impress humans, and the glowing red 'fur' made it unforgettable!
This may be Megaloremmius leo.