How accurate is National Geographic?

JimM

Arachnoangel
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No.
L. mactans (Black Widow) nails you with a neurotixon. Nasty, but the Brown Recluse is armed with a necrotic toxin. What it can do to a finger or other appendage is horrible.

I'd rather take a widow bite.
 

Venari

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No.
L. mactans (Black Widow) nails you with a neurotixon. Nasty, but the Brown Recluse is armed with a necrotic toxin. What it can do to a finger or other appendage is horrible.

I'd rather take a widow bite.
Now, for the sake of Scientific Accuracy...is the Recluse a native to North America? I've really no idea.
 

Venom

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The various widow spiders ( and there are FIVE of them--the northern, southern, western, red, and brown widows ) in the USA are all quite toxic.

Latrodectus variolus (northern widow) and L. hesperus ( western widow) probably have the highest likelihood of causing a fatality of any North American spider ( outside of Mexico ).

That said, widow bites are highly treatable, and nobody has been killed by their venom in the United States since 1989 when antivenom was introduced. The recluse spiders have very --very-- little effective treatement, and often cause fairly unsightly tissue damage, and rarely, internal disruptions of the liver and kidneys, which can be fatal.

Now, our native recluse spiders (L. reclusa, and the various, less-toxic recluses of the desert southwest) don't kill often--very rarely in fact. BUT, there is an introduced species from South America, the Chilean recluse ( Loxosceles laeta) which is HIGHLY toxic, and much more threatening than any recluse native to North America. It's bite carries a fatality rate of 3.7% from renal failure and other internal disruptions. Compare that to the 5% fatality rate (averaged across all age and health demographics) and it still kills less often. HOWEVER, there is no treatment for the bite of L. laeta, and people still continue to die, unlike with our black widows which haven't killed anybody in 30 years.

L. laeta has been introduced to southern California, Florida, and some urban environments in Canada. It has also been found in a number of buildings at (I think) Harvard University.

So judge for yourself which is more dangerous--the spider that WILL cause tissue damage and might even endanger your life, which if it does, there is no treatment for; or the spider that causes no tissue damage and is more likely to endanger your life, but which can be easily cured if it does.

Personally, I would take my chances with the black widow over the Chilean recluse. BUT, since the black widow is native to North America, and the Chilean recluse isn't, the black widow is technically the most venomous spider NATIVE to N.A. In my opinion, due to the disparity in treatment options, the Chilean recluse has a more dangerous bite, and since it is here, whether it is supposed to be or not, it doesn't much matter whether it is native or not.
 

H. laoticus

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All I know is I wouldn't trust everything they say and if something seems odd, it's better to leave it like that until further examination/research. One big example is the Archaeoraptor incident. Just because they're big and scientific doesn't mean they're always right.
 

blacktara

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I know that there are some old data showing 4-5% death from black widow bites.

However, given the fact that there hasnt been a documented widow bite fatality in the US in over 20 years ........

Not saying it couldnt still happen - but the death rate from widow bites in a country wih available antivenom doesnt even approach 5%
 

Venom

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Correct. 4-6 % is the fatality rate without any treament of any kind. And it gets even more ambiguous: 4-6% is an averaged percentage--it's the fatality rate for the ENTIRE population averaged together. That statistic was inclusive of 80-year-olds, 4-year-olds, people on pacemakers and inhalers, people with heart disease etc. In other words, 4-6% probably describes the risk of death to a vast MINORITY of the population. If you're between 15 and 60, without any major health problems, the risk of death is well below 4%. However, for children 0 - 14, and above 60, and anyone who has a respiratory, cardio-circulatory, neurological or muscular ailment, it is much much higher. You have to take into consideration each individual to estimate the risk to them.

4% is the average chance of fatality, and there are many people well above and well below that number.

But, 4-6% is useful in averaging large conglomerations of people.

( by the way, the 6% is L. tredecimguttatus....it's a curve-breaker ).
 

ZergFront

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I'd take a black widow bite over a brown recluse or sand spider (Sicarius) anyday.
 

LeilaNami

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I know that there are some old data showing 4-5% death from black widow bites.

However, given the fact that there hasnt been a documented widow bite fatality in the US in over 20 years ........

Not saying it couldnt still happen - but the death rate from widow bites in a country wih available antivenom doesnt even approach 5%
Right, as Venom said, without any treatment. Just because it is highly treatable, doesn't make the venom any less toxic.
 

Venom

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Just because it is highly treatable, doesn't make the venom any less toxic.
Well said, and spot on.

Australia's funnelwebs haven't killed anyone in several decades either, due to great treatment there. But...heh, they're still bad bugs!
 

blacktara

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All true what you guys said

Now - from my perspective the worst native spider for a healthy adult to get bitten by in this country is L Reclusa. Why? Because there is that chance that even with prompt medical care, you will end up with a big problem and perhaps major disfigurement. With a widow bite, a healthy adult who gets to medical attention will have a bad few days, but wont be in real danger

Now - Re - funnel webs

An excellent link here

http://www.inchem.org/documents/pims/animal/atrax.htm

If you take into consideration the toxicity and potential lethality of the bite and factor in the likelihood of being somewhere where it would take a while to get to a supply of antivenom - the bugs for which there are confirmed human bites that I would least want to get bit by in their natural habitat are

H Formidibalis and H Infensa

i.e. - I know that A Robustus has the higher observed fatality rate, but if I am anywhere where an A Robustus can bite me in its natural habitat, I am probably less than an hour from antivenom

With the two Hadronyche species I listed, out in the sticks where they live, get bitten and you could be many many hours from antivenom
 

Michiel

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Remember that pure science and scientific language is very boring TV, so, to make it digestable for a bigger audience (even for couch potatoes with an IQ of 80), scientific facts are often brought in a more popular fashion.

Science is also not static, so the most venomous spider of today, could be outdated the day after, because an even more venomous one is found.

I would say that these channels are fairly reliable, but don't think your knwoledge is up to date after watching TV.
 

KUJordan

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Man I can't stand this stuff. This is like trying to decide which car is faster- a Mercedes McLaren SLR or a McLaren F1. They both get well above 200mph, one has faster accel and the other has faster top speed, so what are we even talking about?

I would rather not be bitten by either, either can <screw> you up, and lets not forget that death is not always the worst outcome. The difference is that if you actually made a recluse bite you once there is a strong chance you would not have any issues at all from the venom. However, if you made a Latrodectus bite you once, there is a very slim chance you would have no ill-effects from the bite. I haven't seen the most recent LD50 values for either of these spiders, which would give us the best answer as to which is the most venomous dose standardized.

Avoid bites from both (not saying don't interact with them, just be vigilant when doing so...)
 
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hupababy83

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I think its a 50/50 between widow and recluse. I have never been bit by a widow, and I hope I never do; but I have been bit by a recluse and it was not fun at all. Still have a $.25-$.50 piece scar from the little bas****!
 

What

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Hippos kill plenty of people.
Nice completely pointless thread necromancy/fluff post that is completely irrelevant.
I think its a 50/50 between widow and recluse. I have never been bit by a widow, and I hope I never do; but I have been bit by a recluse and it was not fun at all. Still have a $.25-$.50 piece scar from the little bas****!
How exactly did you determine the bite you received to be from a recluse? If I am wrong, forgive me, but assuming you live in California you did not get bitten by a wild recluse* in California.

* - A medically significant species, an isolated population of L. laeta exists but has not resulted in any documented or known bites.
 

loxoscelesfear

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9 out of 10 doctors couldn't ID a brown recluse, yet alone a brown recluse bite. As for reclusa in CA, "All occurences in CA have been linked to particular shipping introductions. Apart from these, THE BROWN RECLUSE IS UNKNOWN FROM CALIFORNIA!!" FROM http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~stevelew/soc.html i think the known range of reclusa is accurate and stowaway spiders show up here and there, albeit infrequently. http://bugguide.net/node/view/33527
 

buthus

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Man I can't stand this stuff. This is like trying to decide which car is faster- a Mercedes McLaren SLR or a McLaren F1. They both get well above 200mph, one has faster accel and the other has faster top speed, so what are we even talking about?

I would rather not be bitten by either, either can <screw> you up, and lets not forget that death is not always the worst outcome. The difference is that if you actually made a recluse bite you once there is a strong chance you would not have any issues at all from the venom. However, if you made a Latrodectus bite you once, there is a very slim chance you would have no ill-effects from the bite. I haven't seen the most recent LD50 values for either of these spiders, which would give us the best answer as to which is the most venomous dose standardized.

Avoid bites from both (not saying don't interact with them, just be vigilant when doing so...)
LOL.. yep :D:worship:
edit:
Hippos kill plenty of people.
 
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