Red Widow Spider (Latrodectus Bishopi)
This is a rather uncommon spider, it is a member of the black
widow family and is highly venomous. According to all literature,
this spider is indigenous to south and central Florida. Survive
Outdoors strongly speculates that this spider is increasing
its range. We have also found in the last 10 years an increase
in bites from venomous spiders and venomous snakes that are
not indigenous to the area. This is due to the buying and
selling of venomous species over the Internet. As well as
importing from other countries. This is a dangerous practice
and hopefully soon stopped.
The venom of all lactrodectus species ranges from 10-25%
more potent than a rattle snake. However, the amount of venom
that it delivers is much less. Its venom is a neurotoxin which
causes sustained muscle spasm rather than local tissue injury.
Usually outcomes are very good, however there are reported
deaths in the very young and very old with this bite. The
puncture wounds are usually very small but many symptoms are
reported. A few of these are high blood pressure, sweating,
vomiting, respiratory muscle weakness, and possible seizures.
The patient usually presents with a very stiff abdomen that
may mimic an appendicitis.
The worst pain is usually in the first 8-12 hours. Other symptons
may remain for several days. Patients usually do very well
and anti-venom is available in the United States from Merck
Image taken by Iris Sager of Lubbock, Texas