Cannibalism - Ophiophagy

Abdulkarim Elnaas

Oct 15, 2016
Oh yeahhh, that's what we were talking about!

Here's a question I have: how much intact bacteria does spider venom and digestive proteins leave anyways? I'm sure some bacterial endospores would survive but does the extracorporeal digestion chew up all the vegetative cells? I'm thinking that if the bacteria can survive in a spider's gut, they must at least have some tolerance to the spider's saliva. A spider's digestive tract seems pretty simple (on paper) so I think that bacteria would be exposed to the saliva all the way along the tract. Such a bacterial species might be rare. Maybe this increases the value of eating other spiders with similar digestive proteins and toxins that might have more of the bacteria you need? Or I could be wrong...I actually have no idea how spider venom might affect bacteria. Are there bacteria that live inside of spider venom?

I tried to search for an answer online and I got side-tracked by this:
Apparently venom genes can transfer between spiders and bacteria? I dunno how this could have happened. Pretty mind boggling.

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
Old Timer
Aug 8, 2005
how much intact bacteria does spider venom and digestive proteins leave anyways? I'm sure some bacterial endospores would survive but does the extracorporeal digestion chew up all the vegetative cells?
I'll start by emphatically stating I'm nowhere near qualified to give any kind of definitive answers to your questions. But I can recall some incidents in white papers that would allude to your general line of questioning.

* Researchers have encountered dead spores that regenerate, raising the possibility of bacteria being capable of interplanetary travel.

* Certain spores have had an 80% survival ratio when exposed to 300C. The number dropped to near zero, but not to 100% kill, at 500C. These I believe were related to postulate #1.

* A physician and friend discussed with me, me being in a hospital bed recovering from a systemic P multoceda infection. He spent the first 15 years of his career in infection research. He explained that bacteria spend way over 99% of their life cycle in various dormant states, as spores or in degrees of inactivity which isn't exactly correct as they remained in a "learning phase" developing characteristics taken from their environment. The technical jargon he used here went way over my head but I remember him explaining that there are simply too many different types of bacteria in multiple stages of development that survive in hostile environments. They have to have adaptation characteristics beyond the black and white active-inactive.

* Bacterially speaking, digestive systems are very poor at their job. Numerous common bacteria pass through digestive systems intact. The physician I mentioned above said the postulant is that passing through digestive systems intact is a part of bacterial evolution written in their genes. The gut is actually the most ideal location for bacteria to go transient and be transmitted. This is born out by a vast number of diseases that are contracted by some form of contact with feces.

* At one of the tropical disease discussion it was discussed in depth that the thinking is backwards. Bacteria is the apex predator the world over and the rest of the living organisms have only survived by developing immune systems, often highly complex. "Allow one chink in the immune system armor to exist, bacteria will invariably invade. If their genes don't have the instruction code to mount an invasion they will adapt until they become successful. The methods they use to adapt we will likely never fully understand because the adaptations themselves can adapt and evolve."

And with all that said, I have been in a battle royal for several years now with stachybotrus chartarum which is in our municipal water supply. Among other weapons I have used, three of the most powerful fungicides commonly used in swimming pools are entirely ineffective. Chlorine and H2O2 has absolutely no effect on the spores. The spores easily survive in temperatures up to 200C. In essence, you name it. I've tried it. HCl, H2SO4, in various dilutions, wetting agents have been used to augment the chemicals without effect. To put it in context, the only fully effective method I have found is a propane torch and if the organism itself is in a porous material, oil needs to be added to conduct the heat.
And then of course, zinc. Zinc=dead spores. Ultra dead. No regrowth. Black mold is inevitable around our bath tub and on the walls. But laying a piece of galvanized wire where the moisture will travel over it and down hill to the spores and no regrowth. Zinc nano particles simply stop spore regrowth. Why?And why, with all the evolution, adaptation, and infinite environmental variable tossed into the soup, have battle ready industrial grade organisms somehow missed developing a resistance or immunity to the presence of zinc, be it in a bathroom, the roofs of houses, the hulls of ships, or in traces of soldering flux that dripped down from the pipes in the ceiling onto the lab counters and raised unholy hell with the ongoing bacterial experiments in the life sciences basement at CT.?
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