Watch out for the “Violin Spider”
As if zika, dengue and chikungunya-bearing mosquitoes were not quite enough, along comes the violin spider, so-called because of the violin-like markings it bears.
Although there are no official records of the presence of Loxosceles laeta, (at least not yet) in Yucatan, information has been disseminated among social networks warning the people of Yucatan of the violinist spider dangerous bite, warning everyone to go immediately to the hospital in case of being bitten by this bug.
Normally found in the central and southern United States, the spider was first reported in Mexico one year ago.
These spiders get around by hitchhiking on furniture boxes and other items from infested structures, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. They are well adapted for establishing themselves by hitchhiking. They are long-lived, can go for many months without eating, and are adapted to the hot, dry conditions found in many structures.
So, considering the great number of people moving to Merida from northern and central Mexico, specimens of this species could be here by now.
Mexico’s federal Health Secretariat has issued a nationwide warning that the arachnid, also known as “brown recluse spider” and part of the Loxosceles genus, has turned up in Mexico and cases of bites have been reported.
“The best way to identify the violin spider is to look it in the eye” (if you dare to get close enough), writes Jessie Szalay on Live Science; since it has six eyes instead of eight, like most spiders have, and the eyes are arranged in three pairs in a semi-circle. It also has a uniformly colored abdomen covered in fine hairs which give it a velvety appearance. They are brown in color but the shade of brown can vary.
They measure about a centimeter long by half a centimeter in width.
Health authorities in Mexico say the spider’s poisonous bite has killed about 200,000 people around the world so far this year, although the Pest Management Program at the University of California Berkeley says 90% of bites heal without medical attention.
As with most spiders, the violin spider normally only bites when disturbed. It is usually found in dark and secluded places and is primarily nocturnal.
Symptoms can include itching, chills, fever, nausea, sweating and a general feeling of discomfort or sickness. There is no antidote for the poison.
Health officials say victims should apply ice to the bite and seek medical attention without delay. They warn against using one’s mouth to suck out the poison.
Violin Spider bite
The Violin Spider has a venomous bite, and anyone bitten should seek immediate emergency medical help, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Like most spiders, the Violin Spider typically only bites when disturbed — though it is possible to inadvertently threaten them. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Program reports that this may happen if a spider is caught in bedding or clothing.
“People react differently to bites,” Bills said. According to The Integrated Pest Management Program at UC Berkeley, 90 percent of bites heal without medical attention or scarring. Reactions to a Violin Spider bite vary depending on the amount of venom injected and the individual’s sensitivity levels, reports The Ohio State University.
Some people may experience a delayed reaction, others an immediate reaction, and others no reaction at all. Many Violin Spider bites leave a small red mark that heals quickly, and the vast majority of bites do not leave scars.