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How Often Do Brown Recluse Bites Result In Serious Medical Symptoms?

For decades the most feared spiders in the United States were black widows. Black widows in the US comprise three species, the western black widow, the southern black widow and the northern black widow, which is just about enough black widows to pose a threat to people living in every state within the contiguous US. While Americans continue to view black widows as dangerous and terrifying spider species that can inflict potentially lethal bites, these spiders are no longer the most feared spiders in the US. Now, the spider species that keeps Americans up at night is the Loxosceles reclusa species, better known as the “brown recluse.”

Residents of nearly every state within the contiguous US have claimed to have spotted brown recluse spider specimens within their homes, yards, and in the wild. However, the brown recluse only inhabits 16 states, and these spiders can only be found in limited habitats in most of these states. Unfortunately, the brown recluse inhabits almost the entire state of Texas. The vast majority of purported brown recluse specimens submitted to research labs by citizen scientists all over the US do not turn out to be brown recluse specimens; instead, the brown recluse is often confused with common spider species such as huntsman spiders, southern house spiders, spitting spiders, funnel weavers, and orb weavers. These mistakes are somewhat understandable, as brown recluse spiders resemble many other common species, but all brown recluse specimens have a violin-shaped marking on their cephalothorax, which is the body part that all eight legs are attached to, and the brown recluse can also be distinguished from most other spiders for its six eyes.

Brown recluse spiders are also known for infesting homes in large numbers, as one indoor infestation in Kansas saw more than 2,000 specimens trapped by pest control professionals. Brown recluse bites are also well known for causing tissue necrosis, and a host of other unpleasant symptoms that can lead to organ failure. According to researchers, a little more than half of all reported brown recluse bites healed on their own with no lasting medical issues, and most bites produce localized pain, swelling and redness. However, if you believe that you have sustained a brown recluse bite, medical attention should be sought out as soon as possible.

Have you ever spotted one or more brown recluse specimens within your home?

 

 

 

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Experts Are In Disagreement About The Potential Danger North American Hobo Spiders Pose To Humans

Those who fear spiders may find it hard to believe that their fear is not shared with everyone else on the planet. After all, what is there to like about spiders? Spiders, are multi-eyed, multi-legged, sometimes hairy, fanged and often intimidating despite the expert claim that most spider species are ultimately harmless. Around 5 percent of the population suffers from arachnophobia, and statistically speaking, there exists no rational reason to fear spiders, as data suggests that a mere 100 human deaths occurred as a result of spider bites during the whole of the 20th century. While the majority of dangerous spiders have been well researched by scientists, there does exist some disagreement among experts concerning the potential dangers that hobo spiders pose to humans. Some experts say that past claims concerning this spider’s purported dangerousness to humans has been exaggerated, while others claim that this species, which exists here in the United States, can cause serious medical problems that could result in death in some cases.

The hobo spider is a moderately large arachnid, as they typically grow to be around ¼ to ½ of an inch in length with a leg span of up to 2 full inches. Nobody knows for sure how the hobo spider arrived in North America, but experts believe that it was brought to the Seattle, Washington area from its native Europe at some point during the 1920s or 1930s. Since then, this spider species has spread across the Pacific Northwest. Many sources claim that hobo spiders can inflict bite wounds that can lead to tissue necrosis, but others say that such instances are exceptionally rare. What experts can agree on, however, is the unusually rapid speed in which these spiders can travel. Studies demonstrate the hobo spider as moving at 3 feet per second. So if you encounter the hobo spider and live in the northwest US, you want to be in good physical shape if you hope to avoid its notorious bite.

Have you ever encountered a hobo spider?

 

 

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The Mother Spiders That Produce Milk For Their Offspring

Everyone can remember learning about mammals in preschool and early gradeschool. We were taught that only mammalian animals produce milk for the purposes of nourishing their offspring. While this is not exactly accurate due to the many non-mammalian lifeforms that also produce milk, it was good enough at the age of six. However, many people may be surprised to learn that a spider species has recently been discovered that produces its own nourishing fluid for its suckling spiderlings. This spider species is known as Toxeus magnus, and it is also notable for looking exactly like an ant in order to fool predators.

The Toxeus magnus is a species of jumping spider that is native to southeast Asia. Female spiders of this species produce a fluid containing sugars, fats, and proteins in order to provide their babies with nourishment. The lead researcher investigating this new spider species, biologist Rui-Chang Quan of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is referring to this fluid as “milk” for the time being, as such a substance has never been found before. Interestingly, researchers learned that the spiderlings continue feeding on their mother’s milk well into maturity, which is unusual.

While spiders are not known for producing their own milk, a female spider’s parenting behavior is quite similar to mammalian parenting behaviors. Although many spider species are naturally solitary, many female spiders provide extended care for their offspring. For example, some female spiders avoid eating in order to constantly guard their egg cases, and other females will open their egg cases in order to give their spiderlings an occasional ride on their back. Other females even regurgitate food for their young, like birds do, but the recently discovered species of spider developed the ability to produce nourishing milk. Much like mammals, Toxeus magnus spiderlings are entirely dependent on their mother’s milk for survival. The researchers that found this spider species are convinced that many other spider species exist that also produce milk for their young, only they have yet to be discovered.

Do you know of any insect species that produce milk for their offspring?