- "Spiders. Not tiny spiders like those surging over the leaves below. Spiders the size of carthorses, eight-eyed, eight-legged, black, hairy, gigantic. The massive specimen that was carrying Harry made its way down the steep slope toward a misty, domed web in the very centre of the hollow, while its fellows closed in all around it, clicking their pincers excitedly at the sight of its load."
- —Harry Potter's description of the acromantulas[src]
An Acromantula is a species of giant spider, native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia, particularly Borneo where it inhabits dense jungles. Acromantulas are believed to be a wizard-bred species, designed to guard dwellings or treasure hoards, and were first created before the Ban on Experimental Breeding in 1965. These giant spiders with a taste for human flesh were first spotted in 1794.
Acromantulas sport eight, black eyes (white if blind) and are typically covered in thick black hair, with a leg span that can reach up to fifteen feet. They are the size of a carthorse, if adult.
They possess a set of giant chelicerae which they use to eat live prey or their own dead kin. Their pincers produce a clicking sound when they are agitated or excited. They also secrete poison when excited. They are sentient, and capable of human speech.
The female is usually larger than the male, and can lay up to one hundred soft, wide, beach ball-sized eggs at a time. They usually hatch in six to eight weeks. Acromantula eggs are a Class A Non-Tradeable Goods.
In contrary to most non-magical spiders, Acromantulas are social animals, who live in large colonies consisting of hundred's of their species. These colonies are led by the oldest male and female of said colonies, who are highly respected and met with absolute obedience. The Acromantula Aragog, for example, was able to keep his entire colony from eating Hagrid, despite their instincts telling them to attack humans, because he respected Hagrid as a friend.
Acromantulas are capable of forming emotional attachments to other sentient beings, but only if they are raised well from a very young age. A good example is the friendship between Aragog and Hagrid, with the latter having raised the giant spider from when he was still in his egg. However, this friendship does not automatically extend to people associated with whoever managed to win the respect of an Acromantula nor do other members of a colony automatically treat said person as friend, as they will first and foremost treat humans and other sentient beings like prey. This is demonstrated after Aragog died, the other spiders immediately tried to eat Hagrid, despite him being a good friend to their former leader.
Whenever a member of an Acromantula colony dies, his or her corpse will be eaten by the other spiders upon death. This includes the leaders of a colony. It is not known if a dead Acromantula will be mourned by other members of its species so it cannot be said for certain if this is a funeral rite or simply a way to acquire food.
The basilisk is the worst enemy of all spiders, including Acromantulas, feared so much that they do not even dare to speak of it, similar to how wizards of Harry Potter's world view Lord Voldemort and use a euphemism in place of his name. It is their greatest threat due to the basilisk's killing gaze and the fact that spiders have many eyes that grant extreme field of view, thus making them highly vulnerable targets.
Acromantulas in the Wizarding World
A colony of Acromantulas was established in the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by Aragog and his wife, Mosag. Rubeus Hagrid originally kept the young Aragog in a cupboard box in the school's dungeons. Aragog was released into the Forest by Rubeus Hagrid at about the time of the 1943 opening of the Chamber of Secrets.
The Forbidden Forest Acromantula colony participated in the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998, when the Death Eaters drove them out of the Forest, and towards Hogwarts Castle. Rubeus Hagrid was captured by the Death Eaters after he was lost among the swarm in his efforts to protect Aragog's offspring.
The name Acromantula has the Greek ακρος (acros/acro), meaning high or "peak," and -mantula, from the English "tarantula." True to their name, Acromantulas are massive arachnids who tend to spin their expansive webs high in tree tops. Despite the names bearing a phonetic similarity to Tarantulas, they appear more like Wolf Spiders and are, in all depictions, araneomorphae.
Behind the scenes
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter used Arania Exumai, a stunning or killing spell for use against spiders, while attempting to escape the Acromantula colony. He learned the spell from Tom Riddle upon visiting the latter's sixteen year old memory in his diary. The spell was never mentioned in the book.
- The Acromantulas in the film more closely resemble wolf spiders (family Lycosidae) than actual tarantulas (family Theraphosidae), but that may reflect upon the fact that wolf spiders were the first kind of spider to ever be referred to as "tarantulas".
- In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Ron pens an added nine "X"s to the Acromantula's Classification. This is a reference to his fear of spiders. He and Harry also cross out the "unconfirmed" at the end of the sentence "Rumours of an Acromantula colony being established in Scotland are unconfirmed" and replace it with "Confirmed by Harry Potter and Ron Weasley."
- In the films, Acromantulas have two big eyes, at the height of human eyes, with a line of four small eyes underneath and an eye on each side of the head, human temple height. This is a detail that is not specified in the books.
- The spider that Ron faced off in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban closely resembles a Black widow, with the exception of its size, which may have been the result of his encounter with the much larger sized Acromantulas.
- In Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, riders encounter Acromantulas in the Forbidden Forest portion of the the ride.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Seen as Boggart)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) (Possible appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) (Seen as Boggart) (GBA version only)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) (Disc 2)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- J. K. Rowling's Official Site
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- ↑ Harry Potter Bloomsbury Glossary: Acromantula: exact quote: Monstrous eight-eyed, hairy spiders capable of human speech. Carthorse-sized and carnivorous, they have eight legs and sharp pincers. When excited or angry, they make a distinctive clicking sound and secrete poison. They fear Basilisks.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- ↑ J. K. Rowling's Official Site
- ↑ In the Chamber of Secrets, a door is about to close. You can then see an Acromantula walking towards you before the door is closed.
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