"Operation Spiderman"--which had nothing to do with the fictional crime-fighting web-slinger--came to an end this weekend with the arrest of Sven Koppler, a German man thought to be responsible for the smuggling of thousands of endangered spiders.
Authorities began tracking Koppler after intercepting a package concealing 300 spiders in March. To snare Koppler, agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife department ordered more spiders from the dealer. When a package arrived containing 70 live endangered tarantulas and one dead tarantula, they had the evidence they needed to make the arrest.
Around the world, tarantulas are kept as pets but many popular species are endangered in the wild. Photo: christopher.woo/Creative Commons