The Nosferatu spider and the giant tick: these strange animals are native to Hess | hessenschau.de

This is not for the weak nerves of reptile phobias: due to the temperate climate, insects and spiders from the south are now spreading to us. Although they may be frightening to look at, they are mostly harmless to humans – with one exception.

As winters get milder and summers get warmer, some exotic animals that really belong to the south are also dotted here. According to the State Agency for Conservation of Nature, Environment and Geology (HLNUG), some of these species, such as the praying mantis, are spreading rapidly. Other animals, such as the Hyalomma tick, can pose a threat to humans.

According to the German Union for the Conservation of Nature (NABU), the scientific name for the Nosferatu spider, Zoropsis spinimana, comes from the Mediterranean region and can reach us via the ever-increasing shipping traffic. In 2005, it was first discovered in Germany.


Close-up of the Nosferatu spider (Zoropsis spinimana)

The Nosferatu spider does not spin webs to catch prey, but pursues its prey and then lunges forward in a flash. It can bite – and thus harm people, too: if you get too close, you may feel the bite. In principle, it is poisonous, but harmless to humans. It hurts like a mild bee sting, explains Frank Ove Pfoul of NABU. According to his estimation, the probability of her being attacked by her tended towards zero.

The special thing about the spider: it can even climb vertical glass walls – that is, where many other spider species slither. This is made possible by the special adhesive bristles on the legs. So your body length can be about 2 centimeters, and your legs extended more than six centimeters. “Luxurious, but not record-breaking,” says Naboo. The large angled spider, widespread in Germany, is larger and has a wingspan of ten centimeters.

Mantis – especially common in southern Hessen

Another rather unusual animal that can be seen again and again, especially in southern Hesse, is the European mantis. The animals are particularly common in the Bergstraße region, explains NABU expert Pfuhl. The mantis is not a grasshopper, but a praying mantis. Its length can reach eight centimeters.


Close-up of a praying mantis looking at the viewer

The insect is said to have been first seen in southern Hesse in 2004, and HLNUG has been recording its occurrence since 2017. It is therefore considered ‘founded in Hesse’. Anyone who sees a mantis can check the vision in Reporting portal HLNUG documentation.

The animal can fly – but according to HLNUG, it is doubtful whether it came to Germany from the Mediterranean only because of that. According to the information, it cannot be ruled out that he traveled in a car unnoticed.

Wasp spider – females eat males

Nice to look at, unless you have arachnophobia, the fear of spiders. The belly of the wasp spider is yellow, black and white striped, and it resembles the wasp of the same name. Because of the black and white stripes, it is sometimes called the zebra spider.


Close-up of a spider wasp in its web

This animal also comes from the south, but according to NABU it has become widespread in recent decades – not only in the state of Hesse. Meanwhile, the hornet spider has expanded its range to include northern Europe. In 2004 she was first seen in Norway.

The reasons for this spread are not fully known, but NABU also suspects that global warming is the driving force here. The animal prefers to stay where it is warm: fallow areas along railway tracks and on railway bridges are ideal for wasps spiders. Instead, it occurs less frequently in low mountain ranges.

According to NABU, females can be up to 25 mm long. The small, inconspicuous males are light brown in color and no larger than six millimeters in size. After the sexual act, the male usually falls victim to the innate cannibalism of the female, which is why in the fall there are only females.

Hyalomma ticks – can transmit diseases

According to HLNUG, this animal also comes from the Mediterranean region and prefers warm, dry summers. Ticks of the genus Hyalomma came to us by migratory birds, and thanks to climate change they can spread. Ticks can see up to ten meters with their eyes and track their prey in a targeted manner.


close-up of

HLNUG describes Hyalomma ticks as ‘health related’ because they can actually be dangerous to humans. will. In 2019, it was first confirmed that a man had typhus of the sign Hyalomma. It has been successfully treated with antibiotics, such as Ärtzeblatt mentioned. In addition, the Hyalomma tick is said to be able to transmit Crimean-Congo fever.


On the left is a regular sign (

According to the Hessian State Laboratory (LHL), females can grow up to about two centimeters. Therefore, animals have articulated legs with which they can run at an amazing speed. Large mammals, such as horses or cattle, will be attacked by them.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) assesses the prospects for publication in 2020 as uncertain. “It is unclear whether the animals that survive the winter are sufficient to build their clan in Germany in the long term,” says RKI.

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