Tuesday, June 20

Yikes!


Black Widow
Originally uploaded by duanekeys.
I was able to snap a picture of the second black widow spider we have encountered at the farm. I'm not a fan of creepy crawly things, especially the kind with a neurotoxic venom.

I was relieved to learn that they're typically* not deadly to humans (from Wikipedia):

Although their venom is extremely potent, these spiders are not especially large. Compared to many other species of spiders, their chelicerae are not very large or powerful. In the case of a mature female, the hollow, needle shaped part of each chelicera, the part that penetrates the skin, is approximately 1.0 mm (around .04 inch) long, sufficiently long to inject the venom to a dangerous depth. The males, being much smaller, can inject far less venom and inject it far less deeply. The actual amount injected, even by a mature female, is very small in physical volume. When this small amount of venom is diffused throughout the body of a healthy, mature human, it usually does not amount to a fatal dose. Deaths in healthy adults from Latrodectus bites are relatively rare in terms of the number of bites per thousand people. Only sixty-three deaths were reported in the United States between 1950 and 1989 (Miller, 1992). On the other hand, the geographical range of the widow spiders is very great. As a result, far more people are exposed, world-wide, to widow bites than are exposed to bites of more dangerous spiders, so the highest number of deaths world-wide are caused by members of their genus. Widow spiders have more potent venom than most spiders, and prior to the development of antivenom, 5% of reported bites result in fatalities. Black widow venom spreads rapidly throughout the body and acts by causing the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in muscular contraction.



2 comments:

meghann said...

Icky, those things are not friendly. Isn't it weird that Daddy-long-legs spiders are the most poisonus? Good thing their mouths are too small to bite us!

pablo said...

Maybe you could introduce Frank the Toad to all of these widows and see if he can solve your problem for ou.