Meet cerbalus aravaensis, a spider from the Sparassidae family whose leg span could reach up to 14 centimeters (5.5 inches), making it the largest spider in Israel and the second largest in the Middle East.
This is an extremely rare species that is endemic to the Arava region in Israel and Jordan and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
The streaky arachnid is a nocturnal sand dweller who is most active in the hotter summer months and makes its home in sand dunes and partly stable sands at the edge of salt marshes where it spends most of the hot daylight hours.
It constructs underground dens with a hinged, trapdoor-like cover made of sand and glue, in order to disguise the entrance from predators.
The cerbalus aravaensis feeds mostly on insects, but individuals of this species have been recorded in the past devouring lizards, much larger and heavier than them.
This species' limited habitat puts its existence in imminent danger – and the sands of the Arava are constantly shrinking due to re-zoning of areas for agriculture and sand quarries.
Thanks to such nature reserves as the Sands of Samar and Evrona, the cerbalus aravaensis and a large variety of other rare animals get to live their lives with minimal human interference.
We can only admire at these creatures from afar and reserve our wonderful nature while we can.