'Venomous to Humans"

Beary Strange

Arachnodemon
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Aug 30, 2013
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672
I'm having this conversation with someone that has...suffice it say, gone downhill very quickly. She keeps referring to medically significant spiders as "venomous to humans". To me, this is an unnecessary and odd qualifier. Whether it's dangerous to humans or not, it's still venomous because it still has venom glands. If a medically insignificant species bites a person, it's venom doesn't simply not exist because it's biting a human. It's just not dangerous. Last I checked venomous means "secreting venom or capable of injecting venom", not dangerous. She's also suddenly jumped from "having an interest in spiders" to having a degree in behavioral ecology that focused on spiders. Realistically I know fighting about this isn't worth it but she's become so rude and condescending that I'm livid right now.

I'm really interested to know what others think of this "venomous to humans" terminology.
 

Chris LXXIX

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Dec 25, 2014
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90% of Italian people here would not only agree with statements like that, but worst. The main reason behind the 2003 Ban was: "They (Arachnids, and ALL of them) can be lethal, potentially lethal, or able to invalidate someone for life."

This means that, for those folks, a normal, lazy T's like "Grammo" or a "Brachy" carry a venom able to do things like that. I think that if compared to those folks here the person you had that conversation with is a genius.

For your question i think that he/she, probably, got in his/her mind Atrax robustus which venom seems, due to Delta atracotoxin, not dangerous for dogs etc but potentially lethal to humans (without the antidote shot/s, of course).

I understand you, to argue with those type of people is always very annoying, ah ah :coffee:
 
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pannaking22

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Yes, all spiders are considered venomous (except Uloboridae of course) and that's something that a lot of people have a hard time wrapping their head around. I handle my B. albiceps female on occasion and have brought her to outreach events where I gently take her out and show her to people and my mom freaks out and thinks that if I get bitten I'll have to go to the hospital. Unless allergic, nothing is going to happen. Same with when I handle my Hadogenes paucidens (flat rock scorp). Her venom will do nothing to me if I'm stung. Her claws are a whole different story though lol.

I can, to an extent, see where she's coming from when she says "venomous to humans", though I don't agree with her terminology. Venoms as a whole aren't made to damage humans because we aren't the main prey item of a spider. There are some that can cause harm to people, but those are a select few. Instead, she really should be phrasing it as medically significant or even better, dangerous to humans if she's talking about genera such as Phoneutria or Latrodectus. Dangerous to humans doesn't sound much better unfortunately, but I don't think you can use medically significant as much if you're comparing Poecilotheria to the other genera I mentioned when comparing venoms. Medically significant works wonderfully as a blanket term, but isn't as great when talking about specifics.

Also, I think whoever this is is full of BS since she's changing her qualifications as she goes to try to sound smarter or maybe try to intimidate you. If you really want, call her out on her degree and have her send you the name of her thesis, when it was published, and what journal it was published in. Might as well have her put her money where her mouth is, right?
 

Beary Strange

Arachnodemon
Joined
Aug 30, 2013
Messages
672
Yes, all spiders are considered venomous (except Uloboridae of course) and that's something that a lot of people have a hard time wrapping their head around. I handle my B. albiceps female on occasion and have brought her to outreach events where I gently take her out and show her to people and my mom freaks out and thinks that if I get bitten I'll have to go to the hospital. Unless allergic, nothing is going to happen. Same with when I handle my Hadogenes paucidens (flat rock scorp). Her venom will do nothing to me if I'm stung. Her claws are a whole different story though lol.

I can, to an extent, see where she's coming from when she says "venomous to humans", though I don't agree with her terminology. Venoms as a whole aren't made to damage humans because we aren't the main prey item of a spider. There are some that can cause harm to people, but those are a select few. Instead, she really should be phrasing it as medically significant or even better, dangerous to humans if she's talking about genera such as Phoneutria or Latrodectus. Dangerous to humans doesn't sound much better unfortunately, but I don't think you can use medically significant as much if you're comparing Poecilotheria to the other genera I mentioned when comparing venoms. Medically significant works wonderfully as a blanket term, but isn't as great when talking about specifics.

Also, I think whoever this is is full of BS since she's changing her qualifications as she goes to try to sound smarter or maybe try to intimidate you. If you really want, call her out on her degree and have her send you the name of her thesis, when it was published, and what journal it was published in. Might as well have her put her money where her mouth is, right?
It's funny you mention that people associate venom as dangerous, because it was me gently correcting her that venomous doesn't mean dangerous that sent her into defensive "I have a degree! I know what I'm talking about!" mode. And yeah, I didn't buy her degree story; after all, if a person starts a conversation with you by saying they're an arachnohobbyist and you have a related degree, would that not be the first thing you mention? Spider people get excited to meet other spider people, in my experience, especially when it's in places you wouldn't expect. Plus there were other red flags: all her posts had a very Googled feel to them (she actually filled her rebuttal post to me with random, unrelated to our topic, spider facts that were ALL common knowledge in an attempt to "school" me and I guess prove how much she knew), saying spiders are easy to identify (wouldn't someone with a biology-based degree know better than to rely on photo identification?) and automatically assuming arachnids means spiders (which isn't a grave sin, but arachnids means I could have been talking about many different things; most intelligent people ask me what kind when I say I keep arachnids instead of automatically assuming I mean spiders).

I really dislike the phrase, because it just gives a totally wrong impression about venom and it further ingrains the idea that venomous is synonymous with dangerous. Not to mention it infers any spider not dangerous to humans are somehow not venomous, which, what, I don't even.

I agree medically significant can be a problematic umbrella term (although it's still the one I prefer), because it applies to things like Poecilotheria and Hadryonche that aren't even in the same class, venom-wise. I've actually been considering saying something along the lines of "medically significant with an LD-50 rating", since things like tarantulas don't have venom significant enough to even be rated. Thoughts?

---------- Post added 10-21-2015 at 01:44 PM ----------

For your question i think that he/she, probably, got in his/her mind Atrax robustus which venom seems, due to Delta atracotoxin, not dangerous for dogs etc but potentially lethal to humans (without the antidote shot/s, of course).

I understand you, to argue with those type of people is always very annoying, ah ah :coffee:
Yeah I suspect the same, but if so, this further illustrates that she has no idea what she's talking about. It's venom hasn't simply ceased to exist because it bit a dog, it's just not dangerous to the dog.
 
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pannaking22

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It's funny you mention that people associate venom as dangerous, because it was me gently correcting her that venomous doesn't mean dangerous that sent her into defensive "I have a degree! I know what I'm talking about!" mode. And yeah, I didn't buy her degree story; after all, if a person starts a conversation with you by saying they're an arachnohobbyist and you have a related degree, would that not be the first thing you mention? Spider people get excited to meet other spider people, in my experience, especially when it's in places you wouldn't expect. Plus there were other red flags: all her posts had a very Googled feel to them (she actually filled her rebuttal post to me with random, unrelated to our topic, spider facts that were ALL common knowledge in an attempt to "school" me and I guess prove how much she knew), saying spiders are easy to identify (wouldn't someone with a biology-based degree know better than to rely on photo identification?) and automatically assuming arachnids means spiders (which isn't a grave sin, but arachnids means I could have been talking about many different things; most intelligent people ask me what kind when I say I keep arachnids instead of automatically assuming I mean spiders).

I really dislike the phrase, because it just gives a totally wrong impression about venom and it further ingrains the idea that venomous is synonymous with dangerous. Not to mention it infers any spider not dangerous to humans are somehow not venomous, which, what, I don't even.

I agree medically significant can be a problematic umbrella term (although it's still the one I prefer), because it applies to things like Poecilotheria and Hadryonche that aren't even in the same class, venom-wise. I've actually been considering saying something along the lines of "medically significant with an LD-50 rating", since things like tarantulas don't have venom significant enough to even be rated. Thoughts?
Nope, sounds like she was definitely just trying to Google things quickly to win her "battle". Those conversations are the worst.

I agree, it really isn't the best phrase and I think I wrote it down at the peak of my caffeine high today (I don't have coffee very often anymore and had some today so I've been a bit jittery lol) without fully thinking it through, other than the negative connotation that would also unfortunately have. There should be a good phrase that we can use that implies a bit of risk from certain species instead of making it sound like they're dangerous when realistically they aren't. Heck, Atrax robustus can be considered dangerous, but because Australia is on top of it with antivenom, no one has died from a bite for decades. Is the spider dangerous? In a strict sense, yes. But it would still be considered low risk because bites are infrequent and all the hospitals have antivenom.

I like the idea of medically significant with an LD-50 rating, but I think most people would struggle to understand that and it's tested with a different organism so the reactions to the venom could be different. That being said, it would be an improvement over what is said now and it would allow us to distinguish between species that are medically significant, like Poecilotheria and species that are truly medically significant, like Atrax.
 

The Snark

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I was hoping someone else would point out the various rats in the soup here. A couple of them are rather cute.

Let's start with venomous to humans. Hello?? Any biologists snerking away up there in the gallery? That's nonsensical. Quite unscientific terminology wise. If the OPs friend has some sort of degree s/he should be embarrassed.

The correct term there would be toxic. But then a few other rats float by. Venoms can either be general, as formic acid, hemotoxins, or a neuro-interceptor, or possess specific traits as promoting necrosis and so on. But that other rat points another foible out: Toxic to what? Check out Widowman10's sterling little essay on venoms and specific targeting. https://sites.google.com/site/widowman10/venom

To get down to earth here, the correct term, phrase, in any self respecting biologists circles would be possesses toxins that specifically target mammals. Compare to the seven exotic toxins, components, of Latrotoxins: Five target invertebrates, one targets vertebrates and one targets crustaceans.

HUH? Well, let's try this. Ignoring the fact there are several thousand unique toxins in spider venoms that target specific animals and glop it all into the small gray-brown rat to the left of that floating asparagus: All spider 'venoms' target the class Animalia, the order Primates, the Family Hominidae, the genus Homos, and the species H Sapiens??

What the fork are you talking about, Snark?? Simple. Do you mean mammals? Venomous to humans=Spider toxins target mammals. But that's wrong. They don't. Some may incidentally, and do a right bang up job of it too as Atrax, but some are entirely benign. Spider venoms target the species H Sapiens? Hrrrm. No. The genus? No. The order? Naw.

I'm sorry Ms degree in behavioral ecology, but you make less sense than I do. H Sapien has never been specifically on any arachnidian menu. First, venomous is an adjective. So is toxic. So the correct phrase is possessing a venom or toxin, a causitive agent, that may incur adverse biological effects upon mammalia.

So 'venomous to humans' is basically the same as 'cars run over people' or 'white houses get dirty'. All of which are only slightly more relevant and informative than 'a ten ton block of concrete is heavy'. Like my little diatribe here: flatulent noise.
 
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Chris LXXIX

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"I have a degree! I know what I'm talking about!"
Ah ah ah.. my opinion about? Those type of people are full of :poop: i remember reading years ago about a folk that was bitten by one of his Poecilotheria (now i don't remember exactly which one) in UK, and in some UK (England based) Arachnid forum he stated that his doctor, a friend of him from India, started to say "let's do this" "Do that" etc like if there's a sort of "Oz" magic spell that works good about.

Bollocks. Those people are attention "W" word ones, just that. In India majority of people doesn't even know what a Poecilotheria is, i bet my ... on that.

My neighbour is a Bangladesh (the old Bengala, former East Pakistan, of course part of India once) citizen and he never heard about Poecilotheria "word". They call those tree spiders, or just spiders.

Sometimes people are just... so damn full of life, let's say. And this IMO is a bad thing :mask:
 
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pannaking22

Arachnoemperor
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Joined
Nov 25, 2011
Messages
3,903
I was hoping someone else would point out the various rats in the soup here. A couple of them are rather cute.

Let's start with venomous to humans. Hello?? Any biologists snerking away up there in the gallery? That's nonsensical. Quite unscientific terminology wise. If the OPs friend has some sort of degree s/he should be embarrassed.

The correct term there would be toxic. But then a few other rats float by. Venoms can either be general, as formic acid, hemotoxins, or a neuro-interceptor, or possess specific traits as promoting necrosis and so on. But that other rat points another foible out: Toxic to what? Check out Widowman10's sterling little essay on venoms and specific targeting. https://sites.google.com/site/widowman10/venom

To get down to earth here, the correct term, phrase, in any self respecting biologists circles would be possesses toxins that specifically target mammals. Compare to the seven exotic toxins, components, of Latrotoxins: Five target invertebrates, one targets vertebrates and one targets crustaceans.

HUH? Well, let's try this. Ignoring the fact there are several thousand unique toxins in spider venoms that target specific animals and glop it all into the small gray-brown rat to the left of that floating asparagus: All spider 'venoms' target the class Animalia, the order Primates, the Family Hominidae, the genus Homos, and the species H Sapiens??

What the fork are you talking about, Snark?? Simple. Do you mean mammals? Venomous to humans=Spider toxins target mammals. But that's wrong. They don't. Some may incidentally, and do a right bang up job of it too as Atrax, but some are entirely benign. Spider venoms target the species H Sapiens? Hrrrm. No. The genus? No. The order? Naw.

I'm sorry Ms degree in behavioral ecology, but you make less sense than I do. H Sapien has never been specifically on any arachnidian menu. First, venomous is an adjective. So is toxic. So the correct phrase is possessing a venom or toxin, a causitive agent, that may incur adverse biological effects upon mammalia.

So 'venomous to humans' is basically the same as 'cars run over people' or 'white houses get dirty'. All of which are only slightly more relevant and informative than 'a ten ton block of concrete is heavy'. Like my little diatribe here: flatulent noise.
Beautifully put as always, Snark :) Thanks for that!
 
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