White tail spider bite

December 14, 2013 | 0

White tailed spiders are known as such because of the presence of a white mark at the last tip of their abdomen. These are usually seen in the southern and eastern regions of Australia. They are medium in size. The 2 most common white tailed spider species are the Lampona cylindrata and Lampona murina. Both these white tailed spider varieties have been found in New Zealand. The Lampona cylindrata is a bit bigger as compared to the Lampona murina, wherein males can grow up to a full body length of around 12 mm and females can grow to 18 mm. The diametrical reach of the legs is around 28 mm.

Each of these types of white tailed spiders need to studied under microscope to really distinguish them.. Both are slender spiders with a stretched body that can be gray or dark red in color. Dark orange-brown bands can be seen on the legs. One can also observe the presence of 2 light white spots on the abdomen, as well as a striking white mark at the tip, located just above the web spinning gland of the spiders.

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Unlike other spiders, white tailed spiders do not trap their prey by spinning a web.. Instead they find and hunt their victims by roaming in the surroundings. They are poisonous and generally tend to hunt down other spiders. Special hairs grow at the ends of their legs which facilitate walking even on a glass surface. They are nighttime creatures and usually prey on other spiders, especially the black house spider, in the night.

White tailed spiders have been found to bite humans. White tailed spider bites can cause various symptoms like local inflammation and pain, irritation, a reddish patch, and/or itchiness. Occasionally, other symptoms like malaise, headaches, vomiting and nausea may also be observed. It was popularly believed that ulcers and necrosis were caused by white tailed spider bites, which was subsequently found to be false via a 2003 study conducted by Gray and Isbister.

White tailed spiders can be seen to live in gardens, inside houses, under rocks, in leaf clusters and beneath tree barks. They can also be found in the folds of the clothes, shoes and towels.Due to the similarity in the appearance of both these types of white tailed spiders, it is falsely thought that only one type is present. Researchers believe that other species of the white tailed spiders do occur, but are yet to be identified. But all types of spiders that have a distinct white tip at the ends of the abdomen are categorized as white tailed spiders. There are other specific characteristics that can be observed at birth, but which vanish with shedding and growth. However, the white tail or tip stays for the lifetime of the spider. The Lampona cylindrata white tailed spider lays pinkish eggs which are enclosed in a compressed silk case and guarded by the female until they hatch.

As white tailed spiders do not spin a web, they can be seen roaming about in houses and other places. Therefore, they may accidently bump into humans, often on the beds, towels or clothing. Since, they tend to wander around, the instances of white tailed spider bites in Australia, outnumber the cases of spider bites from other species. A study conducted in Australia has indicated that about 60 percent of all spider bite cases have been caused by the white tailed spider.

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Symptoms of white tailed spider bites

  • White tailed spider bites can generally be seen on the arms and the legs
  • The white tailed spiders do not have potent venom. Hence, unlike the popular belief, white tailed spider bites are not a reason for ulcers or necrosis, i.e. skin damage.
  • It may lead to local redness, along with pain, swelling and itchiness of the area affected by white tailed spider bite. However, the pain in temporary and disappears quickly.
  • Occasionally, a reddish bump may form at the white tailed spider bite site. Scratching them can tear the skin and cause and open wound which is vulnerable to secondary infections by bacteria
  • Sometimes, the bite can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, mild sickness and headaches, which disappear on their own.

Treatment of white tailed spider bites

  • Individuals affected by white tailed spider bites do not develop medical complications
  • Pain can be alleviated with pain killers purchased over the counter. Inflammation and swelling can be reduced via topical corticosteroids
  • After the occurrence of a white tailed spider bite, the affected site has to be cleaned with soap and water. The itching can be eased by applying an ice pack.
  • If one experiences severe symptoms like formation of blisters, skin discoloration of high fever, then one must consult a physician for treatment

White tail spider bite pictures

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