Spiders

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Spiders are air-breathing chelicerate arthropods that have eight legs, and chelicerae modified into fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other groups of organisms. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every ecological niche with the exception of air and sea colonization.

Black Widow Spider

Glossy black with a red hourglass marking on the underside of its abdomen, it makes a strong, sticky irregular web in protected areas where prey is likely to wander in and be trapped.

Black Widow Facts

Black Widows can be found in foundations, vents, shrubs and woodpiles at ground level are common habitats. Their highly poisonous venom can cause concern for small children and older or infirm persons. Medical attention should be sought if bitten. Some trap their prey in webs or snares; others are active hunters that use excellent vision to stalk or ambush their food. Virtually all spiders have poison glands that connect with the fangs. Venom produced by the glands is apparently used to kill or paralyze prey.

Black Widow Venom

Only a few species, such as the black widow and the brown recluse, have venom that is very toxic or harmful to humans. Most species do not attempt to bite; many have fangs that are not capable of piercing the skin. However, some will, with results that are similar to a wasp or bee sting. There is the chance that a person can have an allergic reaction to the venom.

Brown Recluse Spider

A brownish spider with distinguishing characteristics of the presence of three pairs of eyes arranged in a semicircle on the forepart of the head and a violin-shaped, dark marking immediately behind the semicircle of eyes with the neck of the violin pointing towards the bulbous abdomen. This violin-shaped marking has earned it the name “fiddle-backed” spider. It is found in undisturbed areas such as sheds, garages and dark closets. Garments left hanging for some time are favorite spots. The brown recluse spider is not aggressive and normally bites only when crushed, handled or disturbed.

Brown Recluse Bite Damage

Their bite causes a severe systemic reaction and an ulcerous sore, which requires extensive medical attention. Fatalities are rare, but bites are most dangerous to children, elderly and those in poor physical condition. First Aid if bitten: remain calm, collect the spider, if possible, for positive identification and get medical attention immediately (contact your physician, hospital and/or Poison Information Center & apply antiseptic solution to prevent infection and ice packs to relieve local swelling and pain directly to the bite area). Shake out clothing and shoes before dressing, and inspect bedding and towels before using. Do not go barefoot or handle firewood without gloves. Remove piles of trash; eliminate cluttered areas in basements, closets, attics and other outbuildings. Dust and vacuum thoroughly and more in normally undisturbed places.