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This Mesothelae spider is the size of a human head! She would be hunting cats if she were alive today!

Kenneth Branagh
Walking with Monsters: Reptile's Beginnings

Mesothelae was a prehistoric giant spider animal shown in Walking with Monsters, able to hunt down animals as big as modern cats if they were alive today.

Creature attributes

Physical appearance and biology

The Mesothelae was a large spider that was the size of a human head[1] with large fangs. It had black skin with the chelicerae being red.

Behavior and traits

Unlike modern spiders, Mesothelae did not make the iconic orb web, but rather would hide in burrows in the ground and use its silk to creature trip lines that would pick up vibrations. If prey was detected, it would ambush its victim and when the spider killed its target it would take its victim back to its burrow where the Mesothelae would inject its digestive juices into the killed prey. Living in burrows always had its risks because it could easily be destroyed by a flood and if the Mesothelae survived it would have to wonder out in the open to search for another burrow as the spider was unable to create its own and Mesothelae did not like to share their home with others of their kind, leaving a wondering giant spider to be vulnerable to the larger predators of the Carboniferous.[1]

The most well-known prey of the Mesothelae was the early reptile Petrolacosaurus[1] and the spiders would even raid the nests of this lizard-like reptile.

[2] It was known that Mesothelae had predators of its own,[1] but it is unknown who they were. It can be presumed they were the giant dragonfly Meganeura and the amphibian Proterogyrinus

Mesothelae was also known to make a clicking sound with its mandibles.[1]

In Walking with Monsters

Water Dwellers

A Mesothelae hiding in some ferns. (Walking with Monsters)

At the end of the episode a Mesothelae sees a nest of baby Petrolacosaurus' hatching out of their eggs and escaping. The Mesothelae sneaks upon and kills most of them.

Reptile's Beginnings

The same Mesothelae re-appears in the first half of the second episode as well. A Petrolacosaurus stumbled on the burrow, and the Mesothelae chases it, eventually killing it. She took her dinner home, but something was wrong. Her burrow was flooding and she had to evacuate. She moved to a different area where she can find another burrow, but her dead dinner is taken by a female Meganeura.

She sees two male Proterogyrinus fighting over territory or a female. Then the mesothelae crawls on the camera screen and the scene cuts where she tries to go into other burrows, but other spiders scare her away, because they don't like to share. Mesothelae then comes face to face with an Arthropleura. She then finds another burrow and a Petrolacosaurus comes out of the burrow, leaving. She finally gets a new home. She seemed safe when a powerful thunderstorm started, igniting a large forest fire. After the forest fire was over, a Petrolacosaurus headed right into the spider's lair. However, the Petrolacosaurus came out with the dead Mesothelae. It showed that the giant spider wasn't safe at all, since she was shot by lightning and the Petrolacosaurus feeds on her fried carcass. The narrator says that 'the era of giant insects and spiders is coming to an end' - as evidenced by the Mesothelae's demise.


Behind the scenes

"Mesothelae" is actually the name of a primitive group of spiders of which one family, Liphistiidae, is alive today. No member of Mesothelae, or indeed any spiders living or extinct, are known to have been as large as the creature shown in Walking with Monsters. The name "Mesothelae" was actually a late change from "Megarachne". This fossil creature was once thought to be a giant spider but is now known to have been a sea scorpion that lived in swamps in South America; however, this was not found out until after animation for the series had been finished. Megarachne was later mentioned in Pterygotus' page in The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life.[3]

A creature of similar nature to the Mesothelae appears in Primeval, a series by Impossible Pictures creators of the Walking with... series, know as "The Carboniferous Arachnid" appears in the episode 1x02 along with Arthropleura who also appeared in the same Walking with Monsters episode with the Mesothelae.

The Mesothelae from Walking with Monsters will appear in the indie video game Paleozoic Warfare by Draco Lizard Studios.

List of appearences

Notes and references