Fact Check

Video Shows Real Red-and-Blue Spider Resembling Spider-Man?

"When I finally catch him in focus...," read a text overlay.

Published Feb. 26, 2024

 (Screengrab/Reddit)
Image Via Screengrab/Reddit
Claim:
A video shared to Reddit in February 2024 genuinely showed a real, red-and-blue spider species that resembles the superhero Spider-Man.

"When I finally catch him in focus…" 

That's the text overlay of a video (archived) shared to Reddit on Feb. 21, 2024, that purported to show a genuine red-and-blue spider that resembled the comic book superhero Spider-Man. At the time of this publication, the clip had received more than 20,000 upvotes: 

No way.....
byu/downtune79 inSipsTea

 

The video above even inspired an entire collection shared on TikTok of mashups, reposts, and theories as to whether the spider represented a genuine species. Spoiler alert: It did not.

Spider scientist Sebastian Echeverri told Snopes in an email that the video was fake.

"There is no spider that looks like that, although a select few do at least have both reds and blues in their coloration," wrote Echeverri. 

The video was likely made by CGI, added Echeverri. 

"If there were a known spider species that so resembled a famous superhero character, I'd presume it would be pretty famous already, Joe Rominiecki, spokesperson for the Entomological Society of America, told Snopes.

But just because the "Spider-Man spider" is a hoax, that doesn't mean there aren't real and wild, vibrantly red-and-blue-hued spiders that genuinely exist in the arachnid world. 

Take, for example, the Australian peacock spider (scientific name Maratus splendens) described in a 2016 study as being "richly coloured by scales that cover the body." While the white, red, and cream colors seen on the arachnid are pigmented scales, the glowing blue coloration is a structural color produced by "the physical design of the animal, and the way the light interacts with that design to produce a particular color," according to Science.

(Jurgen Otto/Journal of the Royal Society Interface)

Also found in Australia is the red-headed mouse spider (Missulena occatoria) whose dramatic red, blue, and black coloration is only observed in males. The two sexes are so dramatically different in color and size, that the Australian Museum writes males and females were originally treated as two different species. Rumor has it the red-headed spider mouse got its name from the very real possibility that the arachnid preys on mice. Regardless of their diet, males (below right) are not only much smaller than females (below left), but are also characterized by their bright red head and jaws with a "gunmetal blue to black abdomen." 

(Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)

Sources

About | Sebastian Echeverri. https://www.spiderdaynightlive.com/about/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Meet the ESA Staff | Entomological Society of America. https://www.entsoc.org/about/staff. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

News, Opening Hours Mon-Wed: 9am-9pm Thurs-Sun: 9am-5pm during February 2024 Address 1. William StreetSydney NSW 2010 Australia Phone +61 2. 9320 6000 www australian museum Copyright ©. 2024 The Australian Museum ABN 85 407 224 698 View Museum. "Red-Headed Mouse Spider." The Australian Museum, https://australian.museum/learn/animals/spiders/red-headed-mouse-spider-missulena-occatoria/australian.museum/learn/animals/spiders/red-headed-mouse-spider-missulena-occatoria/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Stavenga, Doekele G., et al. "Splendid Coloration of the Peacock Spider Maratus Splendens." Journal of The Royal Society Interface, vol. 13, no. 121, Aug. 2016, p. 20160437. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2016.0437.

"When i Finally Catch Him in focus|TikTok Search." TikTok, https://www.tiktok.com/discover/when-i-finally-catch-him-in-focus. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Madison Dapcevich is a freelance contributor for Snopes.