A verified spider bite and a review of the literature confirm Indian ornamental tree spiders (Poecilotheria species) as underestimated theraphosids of medical importance.

Fuchs, Joan; von Dechend, Margot; Mordasini, Raffaella Cristina; Ceschi, Alessandro; Nentwig, Wolfgang (2013). A verified spider bite and a review of the literature confirm Indian ornamental tree spiders (Poecilotheria species) as underestimated theraphosids of medical importance. Toxicon, 77, pp. 73-77. Elsevier

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Literature on bird spider or tarantula bites (Theraphosidae) is rare. This is astonishing as they are coveted pets and interaction with their keepers (feeding, cleaning the terrarium or taking them out to hold) might increase the possibility for bites. Yet, this seems to be a rare event and might be why most theraphosids are considered to be harmless, even though the urticating hairs of many American species can cause disagreeable allergic reactions. We are describing a case of a verified bite by an Indian ornamental tree spider (Poecilotheria regalis), where the patient developed severe, long lasting muscle cramps several hours after the bite. We present a comprehensive review of the literature on bites of these beautiful spiders and conclude that a delayed onset of severe muscle cramps, lasting for days, is characteristic for Poecilotheria bites. We discuss Poecilotheria species as an exception from the general assumption that theraphosid bites are harmless to humans.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Community Ecology

UniBE Contributor:

Nentwig, Wolfgang

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0041-0101

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Alexander Strauss

Date Deposited:

31 Mar 2014 15:45

Last Modified:

06 Dec 2014 15:10

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.47917

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/47917

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