Monday, September 04, 2006

The Kiss of a Black Widow Spider...

Black Widow kiss kills 1
08/08/2003 19:03 - (SA)


Kiev - Poisonous black widow spiders have killed one Ukrainian villager and left six hospitalized, according to a Friday Interfax news agency report.

The outbreak began last month after abnormally large numbers of the spiders appeared in inhabited areas of Ukraine's southern Mykolaev region.

A 63-year-old woman working in her garden died after a spider bite caused a chronic heart condition to worsen. Other victims, including a baby, were being treated in regional hospitals and were expected to recover.

The number of Ukrainians bitten by black widows in July was four times the average of previous years. The last Ukrainian killed by the spider, locally known as "Karakut", died three years ago.

The increase was likely due to a reduction in the spiders' natural predators (birds), and to a hot dry summer in Ukraine's south, causing the spiders to spin webs in relatively well-watered gardens and other places frequented by people, Cegodnya newspaper said.

The bite of the European black widow (Latrodectus lugubris) is highly toxic and acts on the nervous system. Black widow spiders native to the Eurasian steppe are completely black, without the red abdominal markings seen on black widow spiders from the Americas.

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