Bizzare Assassin Spider in Rare Burmite Cretaceous Amber

Walked with the Dinosaurs

Burmesarchaea grimaldii

Subphylum Chelicerata, Class Arachnida, Order Araneae, Family Archaeiidae

Geological Time: Late Cretaceous, Cenomanian Stage (~100 million years ago)

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Amber: 12 mm long, 11 mm across, Inclusion: 4 mm (plus legs)

Fossil Site: Hukawng Valley, Kachin State, Myanmar

Code: MYA15

Price: Sold

Description: This most unusual spider is known colloquially as an assassin spider or pelican spider. It has earned these names from its supposed habits of feeding exclusively on other spider. The unique morphology of the head and jaws with a long neck is the source of the other common name. The elongated jaws would serve the spider well when dealing with prey which presumably possessed a poisonous bite. These unusual spiders have the distinction of being known first as fossils before extant examples were found in Madagascar, Australia and South Africa. Fossil examples from the mid-Eocene Baltic deposits were later supplanted in age by the discovery of this particular type in 2003. This is the only known species at present, with only a limited number of examples known. Notice this one seems to be locked in the jaws of an insect, perhaps a case of prey turning on a predator. This specimen comes with a certificate of authenticity.


  • AMNH Novitates, No. 3361, Mar 26, 2002.
  • Cladistics, 2012, pp 1-29

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