Creepy Crawly (Microhexura montivaga)

Creepy Crawly (Microhexura montivaga): Meet the spruce-fir moss spider, a mini tarantula that lives on mountaintops
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- About the size of a BB pellet, the spruce-fir moss spider is the world’s smallest classified tarantula.

- Found only on peaks above 5,300 feet, this arachnid was discovered on Mt. Mitchell in 1923, and because of its remote location and diminutive size, very little is known about it. It is found in eight WNC counties and some areas of eastern Tennessee.

- The spider gets its name from the Fraser fir and red spruce trees that dominate high altitudes and from the vertically growing moss on boulders where it takes residence. These moss patches must remain damp and shaded for the spider to thrive.

- It has not been recorded catching any prey in its funnel-shaped web, but rather survives off eating springtails, miniscule insects that live within the damp moss.

- It has been on the endangered species list since 1995, and in recent years its habitat has shrunk to a perilous level due to the declining population of fir trees.