Residents of Penza, Russia are feeling a might jittery after pictures of a bizarre green “alien” creature with a bloated humanoid head was posted on the local community website.

Creepy Green “Spider From Mars” Freaks Out Rural Russians

Two photos of the appeared at the Penza Online subsection of the popular VKontakte website on September 27th, captioned (via machine translation) “Users that for a spider? Who knows? Toxic or Not?” The post rapidly went viral, racking up over 100 comments before moderators restricted commenting.  

Creepy Green “Spider From Mars” Freaks Out Rural Russians

Given the provocative nature of the caption coupled with the anonymous nature of the internet, commenters helpfully chimed in with their educated opinions on the deadliness of the so-called “spider with the face of an alien,” knowing the more sensational the comment, the more likely it would be disseminated among more panic-prone members of the online public.

Sure enough, comments describing the creature as “predatory, poisonous and dangerous” electrified a significant proportion of Penza's 520,000-strong population.

Doc Ock LEGO figurine

Luckily for all concerned – spiders included – cooler heads eventually prevailed. One of those was zoologist  Oleg Polumordvinov, who declared the alien arachnid to be a common Flower Crab Spider that posed no threat to humanity.

Indeed, the reverse may be true as one commenter opined, “This spider is definitely not poisonous, I used to eat those when I was a kid.” That would explain a thing or two about modern Russia, not to mention the puzzling lack of glam rock bands and Doc Ock LEGO figurines there. (via HNGN, image via Brickset)