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Archive for the ‘Spiders’ Category

The Green Lynx Spider Is Common In Residential Areas And They Can Temporarily Blind A Person By Spraying Venom Into His/Her Face

More than 46,000 spider species have been documented worldwide, and each species has unique attributes, but the North American species, Peucetia viridans, is capable of impressive feats that few spiders can match. This spider species is also notable for being one of the most well-camouflaged spider species in the world, as their bright green exterior allows them to hide from predators and stake out prey within areas where vegetation is abundant. P. viridans is more commonly known as the green lynx spider, and this species is one of the most commonly Googled spider species in the US, probably because their striking appearance is often noticed by gardeners and landscapers in residential areas. While the green lynx spider is not considered a species of medical importance, it has been known to inflict bites that cause pain sensations similar to those caused by bee stings. In addition to inflicting venomous, but ultimately harmless bites, females of this species have the ability to spit venom as far as 8 inches toward any approaching threat. Case studies have described individuals suffering from severe eye irritation and temporary blindness after green lynx venom had been sprayed into their eyes.

The green lynx spider can be found in most southern states from California to North Carolina, and they are particularly abundant throughout Louisiana due to the state’s abundant vegetation, hot climate, and diversity of plant and insect species. The green lynx spider is one of the primary insect predators in grassy fields, low shrubs and in any area within their habitat where vegetation is prevalent. These spiders are also commonly spotted on structures, in gardens and within low foliage on residential yards. They sometimes wander indoors, but they are not well adapted to indoor locations. Female green lynx spiders are relatively large at about an inch in body length with long legs, and their size often intimidates residents when the spider is spotted in gardens. This spider’s rapid speed and ability to jump from plant-to-plant earned them their common “lynx” name. Female green lynx spiders aggressively defend their egg sacs within gardens, and simply approaching a female in this circumstance will prompt them to spray harmful venom. This venom has caused severe conjunctivitis and temporary vision loss in humans who have been sprayed in the face by these spiders. Due to the absence of an anatomical aiming mechanism in the female’s mouthparts, researchers believe that green lynx spiders evolved to spit at large targets as opposed to other arthropod enemies.

Have you ever spotted a bright green spider in your yard?

 

 

3 To 5 Inch Huntsman Spiders Easily Slip Through Narrow Wall Cracks In Order To Invade Homes During The Fall Season

Huntsman spiders are well known for being some of the largest sized spiders in the world. Huntsman spiders belong to the Sparassidae family of spiders, which contains more than 1,300 documented species spread across five continents. Huntsman spiders are well known as abnormally large arachnids in Australia, but the spiders likely originated from Asia, and several species have been found in the Americas and Europe. When people think about exotic and massively large spiders in Australia, the giant huntsman spider species comes to many people’s mind. Not long ago, a group of Australians captured footage of a giant huntsman spider violently subduing a frantic opossum. This footage quickly went viral, and now many Americans regret ever having learned about the existence of this otherworldly creature.

Luckily, the giant huntsman spider cannot be found in the US, but unfortunately, another massive huntsman spider species can be found in several southern US states. This species is commonly known as the “pantropical huntsman spider,” and these spiders can be found in each of the southeast Gulf Coast states and southern California. Pantropical huntsman spiders have leg spans ranging from 3 to 5 inches in length, and they are often encountered within homes in Louisiana throughout the year, but especially during the fall. In addition to being intimidating to look at, huntsman spiders are known for inflicting very painful bites with their oversized fangs. Although several serious medical conditions have resulted from pantropical huntsman spider bites, the species is considered largely harmless by medical professionals.

Huntsman spiders, as their name suggests, hunt for their insect prey on foot rather than relying on webs to trap flying insect meals. Similar to wolf spiders, huntsman spiders are almost always moving in order to locate fresh prey, and their long legs make these spiders among the fastest arthropods ever documented. Since huntsman spiders are always on the move in search of prey, they often find their way into homes inadvertently. However, huntsman spiders are unusually well-adapted to surviving within human dwellings, and they invade homes in Louisiana during the fall season in order to avoid the coming winter cold. These spiders cannot tolerate the cold climate well, as even the relatively mild winter climate in Louisiana is too cold to allow for the survival of pantropical huntsman spiders. Despite their large size, huntsman spiders have flat bodies that can squeeze through small wall cracks on a house’s exterior in order to gain access indoors.

Have you ever encountered a huntsman spider?

Why The Arrival Of A Non-Native Spider Species In Louisiana Will Reduce Black Widow Spider Populations In Residential Areas

Spiders are often spotted in and around homes in Louisiana, but only a few species in the state are considered potentially dangerous to residents. Brown recluse and black widow spiders can both be found in urban and residential areas in Louisiana, and these arachnids are well known for their venomous bites. The southern black widow is frequently spotted around homes where they prefer to congregate and build webs in cluttered locations. This species is also known for entering homes, and their toxic venom can be deadly on rare occasions.

Many hunters, trappers, hikers, fisherman and other outdoorsmen in Louisiana consider black widows to be the most significant threat to their health while spending time in wooded areas and near water bodies. The southern black widow is prevalent throughout Louisiana, and there is disagreement among experts as to whether the western black widow also inhabits the state. More than 2,500 black widow bites are reported to poison control centers each year in the US, and the southern black widow is responsible for most of these cases. Those who fear black widows may be pleased to know that their population numbers are decreasing in urban and residential areas of Louisiana. However, the reason for this species’ decline is due to the arrival of another venomous non-native spider species known as the “brown widow.”

The non-native brown widow spider species was first found in the US when specimens were collected from Florida 85 years ago, but brown widow populations have been expanding rapidly into other Gulf Coast states during recent years. Brown widow spiders are now dominating urban and residential areas where black widows were once the most abundant spider species. Not only that, but researchers found 20 times more brown widow specimens than southern black widow specimens around houses located in 72 residential areas of Louisiana. Numerous residents of Baton Rouge and New Orleans have encountered these spiders within and near their homes on multiple occasions. The brown widow produces venom that is more toxic than southern black widow venom, but the latter species injects a greater amount of venom into the human bloodstream, making it the more dangerous of the two. This is why scientists state that the rate of medically significant spider bite incidents will ultimately decrease as brown widow populations continue to displace southern black widow populations within human-populated areas of Louisiana.

Have you ever spotted a brown widow within or around your home?

 

More Than 2,000 Black Widow Bite Incidents Are Reported In The US Each Year, And Their Venom Is 15 Times Stronger Than That Of A Rattlesnake

America’s three black widow species and the brown recluse spiders are considered the most dangerous spider species in the US. Unfortunately, Louisiana is home to the southern black widow species and the brown recluse species, but serious symptoms rarely follow most bites inflicted by these spiders. Of all three black widow species, the southern variety is involved with the greatest number of medically significant bite cases, but this is due to the species widespread distribution in the US. While bites inflicted by the brown recluse account for most medically significant spider bites in the US, black widows are not far behind. Black widows produce venom that is 15 times stronger than rattlesnake venom, making black widow venom the most toxic of all spider venoms in the US.

Black widows are easy to recognize due to their jet black exterior and well known red hourglass design on their abdomen. Black widows typically avoid establishing a presence within inhabited areas of a home; instead, balck widows are often found dwelling within garages, sheds, basements, barns and within cluttered areas surrounding houses. This is not necessarily the case when it comes to the brown recluse, as this species is not shy about establishing a significant presence within any room of a house. Also unlike black widows, the brown recluse is not necessarily easy to identify, and they are often confused with numerous other spider species that closely resemble the brown recluse. More than 2,000 black widow bite incidents are reported in the US each year, but luckily most black widow bites only see a small amount of venom injected beneath the skin, and some bites are completely free of venom. These days, fatalities resulting from black widow bites are exceedingly rare, but children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals are at an increased risk of experiencing medically significant symptoms following a bite.

Have you ever found a black widow spider specimen in the wild?

Aggressive Spiders Are Adapting To Survive Tropical Storms

Given Louisiana’s humid, wet and relatively mild winter climate, numerous arthropod pest species thrive in the state. Some of the most commonly encountered arthropod pests found within Louisiana homes include grasshoppers, bed bugs, house centipedes, flies and the state is home to a high number of cockroach, ant and termite pest species. For example, nine termite pest species have been documented in Louisiana, and some of the most harmful and annoying ant species, such as red-imported fire ants and crazy ants, have established an invasive habitat within Louisiana. Obviously, Louisiana sees many tropical storms that frequently cause devastating floods in urban and suburban areas. Many residents are under the impression that arthropod pests are unable to survive these conditions, but recent research has revealed that populations of an aggressive social spider species, Anelosimus studiosus, is growing in response to the state’s frequent hurricanes.

Anelosimus studiosus is commonly known as the “communal spider,” and this species belongs to a genus of cosmopolitan web-spinning spiders that are commonly encountered around and within homes. Arthropods have existed for hundreds of millions of years, so they have adapted well to surviving even the harshest of climatic conditions. Red-imported fire ants, for instance, survive flood conditions by hooking their bodies together to form a floating structure in order to keep their queen above water. Communal spiders are able to survive hurricanes due to their unusually aggressive temperament. Communal spiders, as their name suggests, are classified as social spiders, which are tremendously rare, as most spider species are solitary. High aggression in spiders can be both an advantage and disadvantage in times when food sources are scarce, like during extreme weather events. In some cases, food scarcity will make aggressive spiders pursue food sources with great speed and boldness, enabling their survival during hurricanes. In other cases, aggressive spiders resort to species infighting over scarce food sources. Researchers found that aggressive communal spider colonies survive hurricanes in greater numbers than other more docile spider species, allowing females to lay a high number of egg cases within 48 hours following a storm’s end. Because of this, communal spiders are able to survive well into the winter months. The foraging cooperation among these social spiders during times of food scarcity allows them to survive, and even grow in number during hurricanes and other harsh climatic conditions.

Have you ever found a large group of spiders or insects struggling to survive during a major storm?

 

 

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