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The worlds most venomous spider? End-all-be-all-topic.

Discussion in 'Other Spiders & Arachnids' started by Shelob, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. Jeffh

    Jeffh Arachnopeon


    I realize that the Atrax venom isn't nearly as toxic to mice as it is to humans.I don't think the LD50 is what Nicholas is basing his opinion on.You state that if you get full envenomation from a male Atrax that there is a high risk of death...Before antivenom in 1980, there were only 13 recorded deaths.I would think, alot of the victims got the "full envenomation", but still only 13 deaths.I'm not downplaying the loss of 13 lives but that's not a high ratio.My numbers could be slightly off,I going off memory,but they are close.I don't think there has been but a handful of wandering spiders deaths either.

    I've always had a certain fascination with the Syndey funnel web that I've never had with the Brazilian wandering spider.I would prefer that the funnel web had the honor but I would like hard facts not just opinions or third party information.If anyone has that evidence, I would love to see it.

    To see how you have to shift through the BS on the internet, look at all the supposed brown recluse bite photo's where the victims affected limb is about to fall off.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2006
  2. Crotalus

    Crotalus Arachnoking Old Timer

    Here are the statistics of Phoneutria nigriventer bites and fatalities (information provided by Rogerio Bertani, Butantan Inst.):

    · State Sao Paulo ………….773 bites per yea r/ 1 fatality on 2320 bites
    · State Parana ……………..150 bites per year / 2 fatality on 602 bites
    · State Santa Catarina ………86 bites per year / no fatality
    · State Rio Grande do Sul …218 bites per year / no fatality

    Serum was used in 3,3% of the cases.

    Offcourse I should have written "often provided serum".

    Yes. Internet is full of crap. Guinness is full of good data too - if you wanna know the weight of the fattest man. For venom etc I rely on certain websites more then Guinness. Its good to drink though.

  3. brigebane

    brigebane Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I think many spiders could share this title depending on the light they're looked at in. IE frequency of medically significant bites, drop for drop potency and Most deaths.

    Even though there is only two recorded bites I'd have to vote for Sicarius spp. or the South African Assassin Spiders. Probably mentioned previous to my post.

  4. brigebane

    brigebane Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Oh BTW thanks for the Phoneutria figures Lelle, they are indeed very helpful.
  5. Steve Nunn

    Steve Nunn Arachnoprince Old Timer

    LOL, It's H.infensa, the most venomous spider on the planet, the female. The only question is how many of you choose to accept this as truth. Trust me, with everything I have ever done with spiders, of this I am 100% positive.

    The wandering spiders do not compare to the funnel-webs of Australia, apples and oranges. Give me a wandeing spider bite anyday over a funnel-web. I could not name one arachnologist with knowledge of the funnel-web that would say otherwise.

    Instead of seeking out hobbyists for this answer, go to the source and ask. Check with the museums around the areas these spiders are found, get true stats, not false ones.

  6. Crotalus

    Crotalus Arachnoking Old Timer

    I wouldnt choose either way. Its like comparing a bite from a lancehead or rattlesnake - both will mess you up.
  7. Steve Nunn

    Steve Nunn Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Hi Lelle,
    Yes, both can have the potential to mess you up, I do not dispute that at all. But, I'd take my chances with the wanderer anyday ;) I know the percentages and based on those stats alone, give me the wanderer!!

    With the extremely high number of known bites from the wanderer and subsequent lack of entivenine in many localities, compared to the number of known and documented bites from funnel-webs, the chances are so much higher of a fatality with the funnel-webs following an even ratio, there is no question of this.

    The reality is funnel-webs are now virtually harmless, given the ready supply of anitvenine in known localities, bites are no longer lethal. With the wanderer however, lethal bites still occur (albeit rarely) because of the lack of medical assistance in remote areas. Obviously, the wanderer is more dangerous now.

    I cannot believe for one minute though that the venom from a wandering spider is more dangerous to a human then that of the funnel-web. Not a chance. That goes for at least ten of the 14 known species too, the reality is that probably all of them apply.

  8. Crotalus

    Crotalus Arachnoking Old Timer

    Yep, its one thing to get bitten close to a hospital which stores serum, another thing to get bitten out in the field. That offcourse goes for all potent venomous/poisonous animals.
    The most dangerous about the wanderers are the cheer numbers, they are extremely common in some areas and often found inside houses. They are fast and climbs on anything, that is another reason why people get bitten so often. Plus they got a high venom yield. All these factors are just as important as the venom itself. It really doesnt matter if the venom are less potent if you have a higher yield. Or if you dont come in contact with people regularely.
    Same with the taipans, the inland havent killed anyone (documented atleast) while a southern pacific rattlesnake kills people each year which (academically) less potent venom compared to the inland taipan.
    So, its really a meaningless debate. Dead is dead.

  9. Steve Nunn

    Steve Nunn Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Agree totally :)

  10. Jeffh

    Jeffh Arachnopeon

    I would like facts not opinions or someone saying trust me.Lets see proof.You might be right but "trust me" is kind of weak.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2006
  11. Crotalus

    Crotalus Arachnoking Old Timer

    Did you even bother checking the link up? Dont think so. Its not info written by some dude on a forum, example someone like you that cant provide any facts with your statements.
    Yeez.... why even bother.
  12. Jeffh

    Jeffh Arachnopeon

    I read that link LONG before you posted it...Its good information BUT doesn't compare funnel web poision to other spiders(ie.wandering spiders).I've seen more places that stated wandering spider poision was more toxic than funnel web's, but all you have to say about that is they are wrong.Thats not proof.Yeah, more people may have severe reactions from funnel web bites but I've read alot of times wandering spiders inject very little if any venom when biting.Thats means wandering spiders may have more potent venom but not as dangerous.My question was the most potent venom not the most dangerous.

    "The Brazilian Wandering Spider are very fast, highly venomous, and extremely aggressive and is thought to be among the most venomous spiders known. Recent studies however have found that it only injects venom in about one-third of its bites and may only inject a small amount in another third. Therefore the effects of the bites from this spider can range from only a couple of pin pricks to a full dose of its poison. In South America, these spiders are often encountered in peoples' homes, hiding in shoes, hats, and other clothes. It wanders the forest floor, which is how it got its name. The Brazilian Wandering Spider also is called the Banana Spider because there have been cases where these spiders have appeared on banana boats heading for the United States."
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2006
  13. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Arachnobaron Old Timer

    I think your question has been answered as far as pure potency, LD50, goes, but it's on MICE and you aren't going to get an LD50 answer based on PEOPLE.

    You seem to be asking for the impossible, almost like you can't assimilate an answer that is a bit more complex. There is no simple most potent/dangerous/all-around this is THE one spider venom. Even Martin Nicholas gets that, as I believe his quotes evidence. You need to expand your mind to fully get what is being said and what the data says and doesn't say.

    And you are going to have to accept that there won't be any LD50 on humans!
  14. Jeffh

    Jeffh Arachnopeon

    I can agree with you on that and I think its somewhat subjective.There are posters saying, without a shadow of a doubt, its the funnel web.I've seen no proof.Most funnel web or wandering bites don't require antivenom.You probably can make a case for both spiders but I'm not saying without any doubt its one or the other.The posters claiming one or the other can't seem to provide any real evidence.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2006
  15. blacktara

    blacktara Arachnobaron

    If you look at all known bites and classify the reults into mild, moderate, and serious envenomations for each species, based on severity of symptoms and need for antivenom, there are a few of the Hadronyche species that are WAY out in front of the pack, ahead of any other funnel webs and any other known species resulting in serious envenomation in upwards of 30 percent of cases. That's WAY ahead of ARobustus which I believe was 15-20% (one sixth to one fifth of cases).

    The number of WELL DOCUMENTED cases of bites by certain of the funnel web species is small, so caution should be used in interpreting the data

    Me personally, as a physician but not an arachnologist or a venom expert, I'd rather take a tag from a wanderer twice over than be bitten by one of the tree dwelling or island hadronyche, especially if I am far from medical care

    If anyone is interested I can dig up the reference to the case series on funnel web bite
  16. Sheri

    Sheri Arachnoking

    Of course I'm interested. ;)
  17. Jeffh

    Jeffh Arachnopeon

    That sounds interesting.I would love to see the cases if its not to much trouble.
  18. Jeffh

    Jeffh Arachnopeon

    You were correct...I find the info;

    2 Rate of severe envenoming for the six most medically important species of funnel-web spider

    Common name
    No. of bites*

    Severe envenoming rate (95% CI)



    H. cerberea
    Southern tree
    75% (19%–99%)

    H. formidabilis
    Northern tree
    63% (24%–91%)

    Atrax robustus
    17% (5%–39%)

    Hadronyche sp. 14
    Port Macquarie
    17% (0–64%)

    H. infensa
    14% (2%–43%)

    H. versuta
    Blue Mountains
    11% (0–48%)

  19. Venom

    Venom Arachnoprince Old Timer

    If memory serves...

    To answer the age-old question: "what is the most venomous spider in the world?" is obtuse and ambiguous, you first need to define "venomous"--it isn't as straightforward as you think...really. The fact is that Phoneutria has the most toxic venom component of any spider--its main toxin is faster acting/ more powerful than anything in the funnelwebs. However, this compound is not as concentrated in the Phoneutria's venom as it could be, making it the most potent spider toxin, but not the most potent venom ( venom isn't pure toxin--it is a cocktail of toxin + matrix--like suger dissolved in water ). Funnelweb venom, on the other hand, has more than one toxic component: it contains about 14 different toxic compounds, none of which are as potent individually as the Phoneutria's toxin, but which together add up to a venom which as a whole is more potent than Phoneutria venom. To put it in rifle terms, it's like one 30mm gun vs. fourteen .50 cals---the barrage of .50 cals is much more dangerous than the single 30mm, even though the 30mm is more powerful individually than any of the individual .50 cals. So what you end up with is that Phoneutria toxin is more potent, but its venom as a whole is less potent than the Atrax/ Hadronyche venoms.

    Now, as for "which is more dangerous?"--this isn't the same as "which is more venomous." Danger level takes into account the spider's other characteristics as well as its degree of "venomousness." For instance, a diamond-back rattlesnake is much more dangerous than a sea krait, because although the rattler's venom is MUCH less potent, sea kraits almost never bite: you can pick them up, dangle them freely around your neck, and never once be bitten. Diamondbacks, however, will bite readily, and although their bite is less likely to kill than the sea krait's, it is much more likely that you will receive a bite from a rattler than a sea krait. Thus, you are in more danger from a diamond-back than from a sea-krait: the degree of damage is off-set by the likeliness of its occurring.

    The likeliness of a bite occurring once the spider is encountered is determined by such factors as the spider's temperament, its speed, agility, and defensive behaviour. For instance, will the spider strike a defensive position and stay put ( like the f-webs do ), or will/ can it move toward you by running /jumping ( like a wanderer )? Is the spider fast moving or slow? Is it agile or clumsy? Does it have an effective striking/ biting system? How much of a disturbance/ threat is necessary to cause it to bite? These, along with the venom potency, amount of venom injected, and frequency of "wet" and "dry" bites are what determine how dangerous a spider is. The amount, potency and frequency of venom comprise the degree of damage/ lethality of the bite, and the behaviours/ abilities of the spider determine how likely it is that you will be bitten.

    Based on the comparative features of f-webs and Phoneutria, I have to say that the f-webs are more "dangerous," all things considered. As far as temperament/ willingness to bite, both are highly defensive and bite readily ( although Phoneutria may have a slight edge on this aspect). Regarding speed and agility, no contest: Phoneutria win hands down. In defensive behaviour, Phoneutria jump and run, whereas F-webs are less able to: they are heavier, slower, and primarily non-arboreal. However, when they do bite, they don't give the quick injections of a Phoneutria, but hold on like bulldogs and continue to inject more and more venom. This is another area where they are radically different. Although they are large, and CAN inject large doses, Phoneutria simply don't; they may bite readily, and perhaps repeatedly, but ( in a defensive bite, not a feeding bite ) they don't inject much venom--only a very tiny amount!! Thus, they may be better able/ more likely to bite you, but their bite simply doesn't have the weight of the f-webs'. It's like asking whether you prefer a 70% chance of a fist to the head, or a 40% chance of a baseball bat to the head: the chance of incurring some harm is greater with the fist, but your total risk is still lower than with the baseball bat!

    Now, this is a pet peeve, but I'd like to rant for a second.

    Distribution of a species is not part of how dangerous it is!!! Whether a spider occurs in a populated or unpopulated region does not influence the dangerousness of the spider itself, only how much ( how often ) of a problem it is. In measuring the danger level of a spider once it has been encountered by a human, you can only consider the characteristics of the spider. Where a species occurs only influences how likely you are to be exposed to the species, NOT what will happen once you are. Otherwise, if dsitrubution is a factor, you'd have to go around saying that western diamondbacks are more dangerous than King cobras, because the rattlers live in more populated areas and have much more contact with humans than the cobras, which live in the boonies and are rarely encountered.

    As for "evidence" and "sources"...

    Jeffh, what you fail to realize is that Lelle ( Crotalus ), actually keeps Phoneutria sp. and has provided them for filming on National Geographic; and SteveNunn keeps ( or has kept ) Atrax sp. and is Steve Irwin's funnelweb provider. These guys are experts, their word is a reliable "source," and is as much evidence as you should need. They know as much about these species as any of the scientific writers whose "sources" you crave. And what do you want in these papers but an authoritative voice? Well, they are an authoritative voice! So get over yourself and believe them! ( and BTW, though I'm not as advanced as they, you can believe me too ;) ).
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2006
  20. Shelob

    Shelob Arachnoknight Old Timer

    Thanks for clearing up some things Venom, mainly the toxin vs venom issue. Haven't checked this forum for a while and was pretty suprised to find my thread still on the first page. Got a lot of reading to catch up on!
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