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The Brazilian Wandering Spider

A dead Brazilian Wandering Spider
Ever wondered who's the king of all in the spider kingdom? Have you ever thought it's the tarantula because of its sheer size and strength? While that could true there are other considerations you should take into consideration. Having both size and strength attributes, does it already make them the scariest therefore, the rightful ruler of all? How would you truly define scary? Is it those that are big and fury looking? Or is it those that can deliver a fatal blow with just one bite? If you are still thinking that tarantulas are the top of the food chain, think again, because this one will truly be the incarnation of your living nightmares on spiders - the Brazilian Wandering spider.

Unlike tarantulas whose venoms are of negligible potency levels, thus making the spider generally harmless to humans, the Brazilian wandering spider is really a different story. Its size may not be as big as that of a tarantula's, which is also considered as the largest species of spiders, the Brazilian wanderer's size isn't something that would go unnoticed as well. With a length that can go as long as 4-5 inches across, you would still definitely worry a lot when you find this prowling on your house floor.

The Brazilian wandering spider is also often called as "the banana spider". This is because certain locals as to where this spider is indigenous have reported cases of finding the fiendish creature stowing away in fruit boxes, particular in banana crates during exportation and importation travels.

Just as its name implies, Brazilian wandering spiders are aggressive hunters of the dark. They prowl the jungle floors actively searching for its prey and once it gets its prey, it will surely have a sealed faith with death. Spinning webs for entrapping prey or stalking and ambushing the victim don't work for a Brazilian wandering spider. It prefers to take on a prey, no matter how strong or large it, on the spot. Almost no one escapes the bite of a Brazilian wandering spider, even humans. Its venom is so potently poisonous that if the human bitten is left untreated he will surely die with no more than 24 hrs. Thankfully, in year 2004, scientists were already able to develop antivenom to counter the effects of the neurotoxin venoms induced by this spider. But the people bitten before that time were really truly unfortunate. The name Brazilian wandering spider is actually a generic name given to those eight spider species belonging to a genus called "Phoneutria", a Greek word for "murderess". Come to think - the spider definitely deserves its name. A common misconception would often say that giant spider's webs in certain wet and or damp forests are created by the banana spiders over the years. This is completely false.

There are a lot of spider species in the world who prefer being always on the roll, hunting on the ground rather than spinning webs to ensnare flying insects or ambushing smaller animals when an opportunity opens up. Usually, most of the spiders that execute this kind of hunting method are those that have considerable size and strength and or have very potent venom in them, enough to facilitate immobility of death to its prey right away with just one bite. The banana spider belongs to this kind of spiders.

The Defensive Posture of the
Brazilian Wandering Spider
Such spiders can be readily identified by their physical appearance and behavior. Usually, they have scarlet red hairs covering their gigantic fangs. They also have a peculiar behavior. They execute a defensive posture by standing on their back legs, and raising their front legs and waving them in a seemingly scratching motion as if fending you off. This behavior is a good way to identify such spider species. Even these spiders are afraid of humans; however, they will never inhibit themselves from aggressively attacking anything that threatens them, which includes you, making them even more dangerous to encounter, lest to approach.

There are two species of the Brazilian wandering spider which are the most responsible in among all the human bites reports. They are regularly found in the highly populated places in the south-eastern parts of Amazon and Brazil. Most of the reported bites from these spiders are due to the fact that they are active at night and conceal themselves on daytime in anything that can be used for cover. This could either be some pile of withered leaves, tree branches and figs, fallen logs, item crates, shoes, boxes and cloth cabinets in people's dwellings.

However, there are very recent researches that have discovered that 30% of the bites coming from this spider have no venom in them, and another 30% injects only a very small, thus apparently negligible dosage. This simply means that the aftermaths of each bite could range from simple puncture pricks to utter poisoning. The Australian funnel-web spiders, a close relative to the banana spiders, inject the same dosage of highly potent venoms in their every bite. This would somehow make them virtually more dangerous, although, both of the spider's venom will both need immediate medical attention and treatment.

In the 2007 Guinness World Book of Records, the Brazilian wandering spider has been cited as the most poisonous spider as being the most responsible to human casualties and deaths due to a spider bite. According to studies, the spider possesses the most potent neurotoxins among all the other spiders that possess it. With only 0.006mg of its neurotoxin, it can already deliver certain death to a full grown mouse. A great amount of neurotoxin dosage from its venom won't be necessary to finish off an adult human being.

The Brazilian wandering spider can be identified by its brown color. It is also hairy, very much like an American Wolf spider. A bite from this spider would really be awfully painful, considering the high levels of serotonin it induces in its venom as well. The venom also causes priapism or prolonged erection to its victims making the symptoms more unbearable. This component of their venom has been studied to isolate in order to use it as a medical solution to erectile dysfunctions and certain cases of impotency.
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