Sicarius, very anicent and potent venom, true!?

ornata

Arachnoknight
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hello

I have read that the genus Sicarius is very ancient and that they are so called living fossils, anyone who can confirme this!?

I have also read that they have very potent venom and that S. hahni, from south Africa, maybe have the most potent spider venom know to man, even more potent then Phoneutria spp....is this true?

(sorry about the english)
 

sidguppy

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a friend of mine is a regular visitor of South Africa and also a researcher after spiders. so he's a bit of expert on the local arachnids.

he once made a comment on Sicarius wich he got from a local guide:

"the only thing you can do when bitten by Sicarius is to cut off the bitten part/finger/hand/limb right away and pray the bloodstream hasn't carried the venom"

calling a doctor is supposed to be completely useless, as the venom WILL kill you if it reaches body/head and there is no cure or antivenom known.......

tells me more than enough about the toxicity of this spider. don't mess with em {D

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicarius_hahni

and a quote from this page tells you that
Unlike the dangerous neurotoxic spiders (the widow spiders, the Australasian funnel-web spider, and the Brazilian wandering spiders), no antivenom currently exists for Sicarius, leading many authorities to suspect that a bite by this spider is likely to produce a fatality.
luckily it also has a reputation of not being agressive and bites are rare. so in order to get bitten, you probably must pick them up or something, wich only a very stupid or ignorant person would do.

'hey, here's a little unknown spider in the middle of nowhere in a third world country....what would happen if I pick it up with my bare hand without a glove?"

now, how stupid would that be?
 
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lucanidae

Arachnoprince
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They aren't quite that ancient, remember Mygalamorphs are older than true spiders and Mesothelids are even older than that. They do have 6 eyes which is primitive but they certainly are not living fossils. Also, according to

Venom of a six-eyed crab spider, Sicarius testaceus (Purcell, 1908), Aswegan et al. from the Department of Anatomy, Potchefstroom University, South Africa;

The venom is comparable in its effects to Loxoceles and it isn't even fatal to a rabbit when injected.

"it was shown that envenomation by the South African crab spider, Sicarius testaceus, results in tissue necrosis and a marked increase in the permeability of the blood vessels in the vicinity of envenomation."

This study was done in 1997 and published in the journal Toxicon.
 

8+)

Arachnolord
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According to Dr. Platnick and the World Spider Catalog (thanks Improver for turning me on to that!) they are 21st taxonomically on the list, right behind Filistatidae.
 

Bastian Drolshagen

Arachnobaron
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hey,
you´re welcome ;)
BUT, you have to consider that the way spiders are classified in WSC is based on morphological features, which can (not need to) differ from the cladistic based on DNA. In WSC most (if not all) Mygalomorphae are classified the way Raven suggested it in his work of 1985. Bond and Hedin published a work in which the cladistic of Mygalomorphae is based on rRNA analysis and it differs in major points from the one Raven suggested. Remark, that any cladistic based on morphological features is only a suggestion and it differs from author to author, because every author has his/her own opinion and gives priority to other morphological features.
 

ornata

Arachnoknight
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They aren't quite that ancient, remember Mygalamorphs are older than true spiders and Mesothelids are even older than that. They do have 6 eyes which is primitive but they certainly are not living fossils. Also, according to

Venom of a six-eyed crab spider, Sicarius testaceus (Purcell, 1908), Aswegan et al. from the Department of Anatomy, Potchefstroom University, South Africa;

The venom is comparable in its effects to Loxoceles and it isn't even fatal to a rabbit when injected.

"it was shown that envenomation by the South African crab spider, Sicarius testaceus, results in tissue necrosis and a marked increase in the permeability of the blood vessels in the vicinity of envenomation."

This study was done in 1997 and published in the journal Toxicon.
Where have you read/heard that they arent so ancient, because to me it make sense, since the genus also can be found in south America!?

But I just read this on wikipedia, so I actually do not know....
 

Stefan2209

Arachnodemon
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Where have you read/heard that they arent so ancient, because to me it make sense, since the genus also can be found in south America!?

But I just read this on wikipedia, so I actually do not know....
Hi,

if i may pipe in here:

1. To be present on more than one continent doesn´t have to mean anything, you might want to check other genera and even families about that matter...
Evolution biology isn´t THAT simple.

2. Wikipedia is full of bull - simple as this. Written by many people with not even half - knowledge.

In regard about your comparison of the toxin to that of Phoneutria ssp. here: you´re just comparing apples to oranges, neurotoxins to necrotic ones.
While the toxin action even on fraction level is pretty well understood for P. nigriventer this can´t be said about Sicarius.
If you´re just out for the "most dangerous" or "most toxic" spider you´ll be disappointed with BOTH genera.
Drop it.

Greetings,

Stefan
 

ornata

Arachnoknight
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Hi,

if i may pipe in here:

1. To be present on more than one continent doesn´t have to mean anything, you might want to check other genera and even families about that matter...
Evolution biology isn´t THAT simple.

2. Wikipedia is full of bull - simple as this. Written by many people with not even half - knowledge.

In regard about your comparison of the toxin to that of Phoneutria ssp. here: you´re just comparing apples to oranges, neurotoxins to necrotic ones.
While the toxin action even on fraction level is pretty well understood for P. nigriventer this can´t be said about Sicarius.
If you´re just out for the "most dangerous" or "most toxic" spider you´ll be disappointed with BOTH genera.
Drop it.

Greetings,

Stefan
hello

I know that about wikipedia, thats the reason I wrote "I have JUST read it on wikipedia" :)

I also know a "lot" of evolution biology, BUT it is a possibility that this really is a ancient genus...if you think about it, they are very primitiv spiders

But I need "something" to confirme if this is "true", but It may bee to much to ask....I am not sure if there is any "experts" on this forum:)

(sorry about the english)

cheers
 

Stefan2209

Arachnodemon
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698
hello

I know that about wikipedia, thats the reason I wrote "I have JUST read it on wikipedia" :)

I also know a "lot" of evolution biology, BUT it is a possibility that this really is a ancient genus...if you think about it, they are very primitiv spiders

But I need "something" to confirme if this is "true", but It may bee to much to ask....I am not sure if there is any "experts" on this forum:)

(sorry about the english)

cheers

Hi,

i have as well kept Sicarius from Africa as i am actually keeping the South - American S. terrossus, i´ve never seen anything in any of the two that was resembling something like "ancient clues", but the opposite: highly adaptive, highly evolved.

If you´re looking for "experts" (what´s that? ;) ) you´re looking in the wrong place. You got answers from at least three hobbyists that could maybe be dubbed "advanced". If this isn´t ok enough for your purposes you better might want to get in touch with the according scientists.
Personally, i have strong doubts that such personell is just here around. Even if they were, till now it seems they´d not be willing to poke into this topic. :D

Greetings,

Stefan
 

ornata

Arachnoknight
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Hi,

i have as well kept Sicarius from Africa as i am actually keeping the South - American S. terrossus, i´ve never seen anything in any of the two that was resembling something like "ancient clues", but the opposite: highly adaptive, highly evolved.

If you´re looking for "experts" (what´s that? ;) ) you´re looking in the wrong place. You got answers from at least three hobbyists that could maybe be dubbed "advanced". If this isn´t ok enough for your purposes you better might want to get in touch with the according scientists.
Personally, i have strong doubts that such personell is just here around. Even if they were, till now it seems they´d not be willing to poke into this topic. :D

Greetings,

Stefan
maybe so....:)

but I am pretty sure that you know that the so called "not primitiv/true spiders" have been around for over 100 million years, shown by fossil records

Spiders have actually been spinning "advanced" netts for a VERY longe time, like wheel netts.....according to some scientists:)
It is a reason for why so called "primitive" spiders still exsist, because they are highly adaptive, and havent had any reason for change their fysiologi;)

I just want to add that spider evolution is very interesting, and also very diffucult, since spider fossils are so rare....anyway, I think it is much we do not know when it comes to spider evolution, and that many "experst" have different opinions:)

cheers
 

lucanidae

Arachnoprince
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Where have you read/heard that they arent so ancient, because to me it make sense, since the genus also can be found in south America!?


This cladogram is from the most recent paper of the entire spider phylogeny. It is from:

Jonathan A. Coddington and Herbert W. Levi. Systematics and Evolution of Spiders. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, Vol. 22, 1991 (1991), pp. 565-592.

*Edit* This paper can be purchased online for about $20 and is a great read for those really really serious about true spider evolution. It is morphology based. If you get bored easily, don't waste the money.

Jon Coddington is currently the top spider researcher at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. You can't get much more advanced then him. I'm not sure if you know how to read a cladogram but I'll try to make this simple. The most ancient spiders are Mesothelidae. They are living fossils. Mygalomorphs and Araneomorphs diverged together from the Mesothelids. Then Mygalomorphs and Araneomorphs diverged. Now, Araneomorphs diverged a long time ago into Haplogynes and Entelegynes. What you see above is what is presumed to have happed JUST on the Haplogyne side of things. First the Filistatidae diverged from the rest making them the most ancient Haplogynes, then a big split occurred. Nothing after this big split can really be called any more ancient then any other because their common ancestors all come back to that split. But, presumably the more you diverge after that split, the newer you are. Now, after that split 4 more nodes occur before you reach the Sicariidae, shown in blue. Only three occur for Pholcids, so it is a safe bet that Pholcids were Pholcids long before Sicariids were Sicariids. Four family level divergences occurred after the split from Filistatidae after the split from Haplogyne and Entelogyne after the split from the Mygalomorphs after the split from the Mesothelidae.

In summary, compared to Lycosidae...Sicariidae is old, but compared to all spiders, they are 'middle age' in the sense of major evolutionary divergences.
 
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ornata

Arachnoknight
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This cladogram is from the most recent paper of the entire spider phylogeny. It is from:

Jonathan A. Coddington and Herbert W. Levi. Systematics and Evolution of Spiders. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, Vol. 22, 1991 (1991), pp. 565-592.

*Edit* This paper can be purchased online for about $20 and is a great read for those really really serious about true spider evolution. It is morphology based. If you get bored easily, don't waste the money.

Jon Coddington is currently the top spider researcher at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. You can't get much more advanced then him. I'm not sure if you know how to read a cladogram but I'll try to make this simple. The most ancient spiders are Mesothelidae. They are living fossils. Mygalomorphs and Araneomorphs diverged together from the Mesothelids. Then Mygalomorphs and Araneomorphs diverged. Now, Araneomorphs diverged a long time ago into Haplogynes and Entelegynes. What you see above is what is presumed to have happed JUST on the Haplogyne side of things. First the Filistatidae diverged from the rest making them the most ancient Haplogynes, then a big split occurred. Nothing after this big split can really be called any more ancient then any other because their common ancestors all come back to that split. But, presumably the more you diverge after that split, the newer you are. Now, after that split 4 more nodes occur before you reach the Sicariidae, shown in blue. Only three occur for Pholcids, so it is a safe bet that Pholcids were Pholcids long before Sicariids were Sicariids. Four family level divergences occurred after the split from Filistatidae after the split from Haplogyne and Entelogyne after the split from the Mygalomorphs after the split from the Mesothelidae.

In summary, compared to Lycosidae...Sicariidae is old, but compared to all spiders, they are 'middle age' in the sense of major evolutionary divergences.
thanks, just what I wanted to see:)
 

Venom

Arachnoprince
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Venom of a six-eyed crab spider, Sicarius testaceus (Purcell, 1908), Aswegan et al. from the Department of Anatomy, Potchefstroom University, South Africa;

The venom is comparable in its effects to Loxoceles and it isn't even fatal to a rabbit when injected.

"it was shown that envenomation by the South African crab spider, Sicarius testaceus, results in tissue necrosis and a marked increase in the permeability of the blood vessels in the vicinity of envenomation."

This study was done in 1997 and published in the journal Toxicon.

Well, no. Sicarius venom is worse than that. The tests in rabbits DID result in fatality, and in a mere 4-6 hours ( FAST for a cytotoxin! ). Read this excerpt ( from a South African inter-museum organization )



"Tissue damage from a bite by Sicarius (family Sicariidae) is far more extensive and severe [than that of Loxosceles]. Bites to humans are not well documented. However, experimental rabbits died within 4-6 hours and autopsies revealed extensive damage to subdermal tissue and skeletal muscle. There was swelling of the liver and damage to heart and kidney tissue as well as blocked pulmonary arteries."

--from: http://www.museums.org.za/bio/spiderweb/bites.htm

Also:

"Both are harmful to man with Loxosceles bites resulting in ulcerating lesions while tissue damage from a bite by Sicarius is far more extensive and severe, sometimes resulting in death."

--from: http://www.museums.org.za/bio/spiderweb/sicariid.htm

I'm not sure why you had the idea that Sicarius couldn't even kill rabbits, Lucanidae, but I'm afraid the reality is a bit more serious.
 

lucanidae

Arachnoprince
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I'm wondering where that website got the info, they don't cite any peer reviewed articles. I found the ONE published article on the effects of the venom and read it, it said nothing about deaths in the experimental rabbits. While the website info may be accurate, I can't find anything substantial to back it up. And as I've found before on these boards, not all musuem.org sites are accurate.... especially the Australian National Museum's page on venomous spiders.
 

lucanidae

Arachnoprince
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The family is represented by two genera in South Africa, Loxosceles and Sicarius. Loxosceles, the violin spider, is the most common occurring throughout most of South Africa. This spider, as well as the long-legged sac spider, Cheiracanthium, is responsible for all the serious cytotoxic spider bites in South Africa. Sicarius, the six-eyed sand/crab spider, is less commonly encountered as it occurs in the sand in the more arid western half of southern Africa.
Those pages keep saying there is a South American member of the genus. As far as I can find on their page all six species are found in South Africa (which another part of the site says too...contradicting itself). It is possible that they are including the genus Loxoceles to push it to South America, but those two genera are no longer in the same family. The pages also don't list an author, not very professional or good for tracking fact. To me those pages appear just another attempt to say 'We have the most dangerous spider...' But whoops...no documented human deaths, no professional citations, no author listed, no data, no nothing. A lot of the wikipedia article seems to have been directly copied from this page...save the part about bunny deaths. Or maybe the copy happened the other way around? Remember, these kinds of 'info' pages are generally written by bored and lazy interns after being handed around by half a dozen different people, I've been a part of those type of systems so I know how the game goes. When you don't see an author or a citation, you just can't trust it.

The Australian National Museum has the same kind of thing about their spiders...everyone just wants to be the deadliest.
 
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