This venemous Brazilian wandering spider was a stowaway in a bundle of South American bananas that arrived at an IGA store in Manitoba. ((Photo courtesy the Russell Banner))

Staff at the IGA grocery store in Russell, Man., got a big shock this week when a live venomous spider was discovered in a shipment of bananas from South America.

The large arachnid was captured in a jar and passed on to the local high school biology teacher, Bonnie Morris, at Major Pratt School.

Her students have used the opportunity to research on the internet about the hairy, fanged spider, which is about the size of softball. The class discovered the critter was a Brazilian wandering spider.

Also known as the banana spider, it is considered lethal and aggressive. The Guinness World Records book of 2007 lists it as the world's most venomous spider, stating they are considered to be responsible for the most human deaths due to spider bite envenomation.

They can grow to have a leg span of up to 13 cm and their body length ranges from 17 to 48 millimetres, according to Wikipedia.

They are called a wandering spider because they roam the jungle floor at night, rather than residing in a lair or web. During the day they hide in dark and moist places in or near human dwellings.

Manitoba Conservation has since taken the spider from the school.