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Monday, December 10, 2007


On the left, a spider in an attack position:
Contrary to popular belief, the most venomous spiders are not tarantulas although are frequently confused with them. According to wikipedia, there is an urban legend that deadly varieties of tarantulas exist somewhere in South America. Tale-tellers make this claims, however, without identifying the particular spider.

A probable specie they are reffering to is the dangerous Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria nigriventer), as it is sometimes found hiding in clusters of bananas and is one of several spiders called the "banana spider." It is not a tarantula but it is fairly large (4-5 inches long), somewhat hairy, highly venomous to humans, and is regarded as aggressive. Another dangerous type of spider confused with tarantulas are the venomous Funnel-Web Spiders, which despite their name are not theraphosids (true tarantulas). The best known of these is the Sydney Funnel-Web Spider (Atrax robustus), a spider which is aggressive, highly venomous, and prior to the development of antivenom in the 1980s, was responsible for numerous deaths in Australia. These spiders are members of the same suborder as the true tarantulas, but are not found in family Theraphosidae.

Of course, we cannot forget the Widow Spiders: the Southern Black Widow (L. mactans), the Northern Black Widow (L. variolus), and the Western Black Widow (L. hesperus) which experts consider as highly venomous types of spiders including the Mediterranean Black Widow. Another dangerous specie of spider is the Brown Recluse Spider. There have been reports of death due to its venomous necrotic bites. In the medical literature, numerous other spiders have been associated with necrotic bites like the Hobo Spider, the White-tailed Spider, and the Yellow Sac Spider and the Red-Back Spider.

Maybe many readers wonder why all of a sudden, I fill my blogs with all sorts of spiders and tarantulas. I must admit, I have arachnophobia. I just want to learn more about these creatures and share what I have learned with everyone who may be battling with the same fear. Maybe this fear is totally senseless after all. My next blogs may feature the not so tame species which are not suitable for pets.

Information courtesy of

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