These are timid,
1-2 cm long shiny-black spiders of a medium size. The males and the immature
females have 13 tiny bloody red spots on the abdomen. Their webs can be
seen on the grassy and bushy terrain in South Africa, Middle Asia and South
The female makes a small
den in a gap in the ground or in a rodent earth and covers the entrance
with a net/ web. The cocoons spend the winter there. The babies appear
in April, in June they are already ripe and start a migration in order
to find a mate and to breed. That is the time when the frequency of Latrodectus
bites increases significantly.
The female is bigger and
more poisonous. Its poison is 15 times stronger than the poison of the
rattlesnake. The bite causes a little red spot, which disappears quickly.
In 10-15 min occurs a strong sharp pain accompanied by vomiting, fever,
tingling of the limbs, dizziness, panicking, shortage of breath, and seizures.
The face turns blue, the pulse gets arrhythmic and the urine contains albumen/
proteins and blood. If no treatment is received, the bitten one dies within
1-2 days. Otherwise, 3-5 days after the intake of the antidote appears
a characteristic rush and the recovery ends in 2-3 months.
Myths & Legends
from Ancient Greece
Arachna, a lady who lived
in Ancient Lydia, used threads, which were fine like the mist, and wove
tissues that were as transparent as the air. She took pride in being the
most talented one in this art. Arachna once challenged Goddess Athens to
a contest. The table-cloth that Arachna wove was an exquisite work of art
and was no worse than the one made by the Goddess. The image, however,
was irreverent to the Gods. Athens tore the cover apart in anger and hit
Arachna. Poor Arachna hanged herself but the Goddess turned her into a
spider. Since then, Arachna endlessly spins her web, just as she used to
weave in the past.
If a bite occurs at a place
that is remote from medical facilities, the affected body part could be
scorched with a match so as to inactivate unabsorbed venom.