UM researchers film "dinner plate-sized spider" hunting opossum, other animals

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A tarantula  (genus Pamphobeteus)  preying on a mouse opossum (genus Marmosops).

Arachnophobes beware: the stuff of spider-related nightmares was captured on video by research scientists recently.

A University of Michigan-led team of biologists have released a compilation of spiders capturing and killing their prey. The team documented 15 instances of the eight-legged animals putting on a display of predation sure to disturb any viewer.

The video shows some highly detailed footage of spiders hunting frogs, tadpoles, lizards and in a video intended to reemerge in your dreams tonight, a mouse possum. The footage is part of a published article called "Ecological interactions between arthropods and small vertebrates in lowland Amazon rainforest."

And just to cement the horror, we've also embedded the videos into the story.

The footage was captured at the Los Amigos Biological Station in the Madre de Dios region of southeastern Peru. Considered one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, there's a bounty of interactions between reptiles and amphibians and predators and prey to be observed.

In a show of bravery seldom witnessed in society, the researchers often collected the footage at night, when spiders of the "kill-it-with-fire" size like to hunt. Prior to shining the light of the mouse opposum losing its battle to a much creepier organism, one researcher on the excursion recalled hearing "some scrabbling in the leaf litter."

“We looked over and we saw a large tarantula on top of an opossum,” Michael Grundler, a co-author of the paper was quoted saying in a press release. “The opossum had already been grasped by the tarantula and was still struggling weakly at that point, but after about 30 seconds it stopped kicking.”

It's the first confirmed instance of a spider preying on an opossum, as well as potentially the first confirmed instance of you wishing it hadn't been filmed.

Yet, here we are.