The brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa) is small and deadly. Sometimes called the brown spider, the brown recluse is usually found out of doors in dark places. It sometimes finds its way indoors. When that is so, it hides in closets, folded clothing, shoes, and indeed, any dark place it finds. It may even hid behind the back board of a bed! Although not aggressive by nature, if pressed against human skin, it will bite.
This tiny spider produces a bite that at first may appear as a red target shape circle that changes color, eventually killing skin tissue. It may progress to produce massive organ failure, even death. Brown recluse venom includes sphingomyelinase-D. There is a treatment procedure that many animal lovers will find saddening.
Brown Recluse Spider Bites
The bite of a brown recluse spider is treated using anti-venom generated by a series of steps:
1. Brown recluse spiders are milked of their poison, using electric stimulus and vacuum collection.
2. The venom is then injected into horses, which develop antibodies. Unfortunately, the horses’ lives are greatly curtailed, from about 20 years to about 3 to 4 years.
3. The antibodies are used to produce anti-venom to be delivered to human victims.
There is good news for bite sufferers as well as for horse lovers. Scientists have developed a man made anti-venom. It still requires injecting horses, but it is much less harmful to the horses. It does not shorten their lives. For further details concerning this development, view the BBC video listed below.
- Field Guide to Spiders and Scorpions: Brown Recluse
- Biting back: Taking the sting out of spider venom
- Sphingomyelinase D activity of brown recluse spider…
- YouTube: Binford milks a spider
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