Some dangerous South African spiders

1) Black button spider (Latrodectus indistictus): 

  • Black medium-sized spider
  • most have some form of orange-red markings on the dorsal side (top) of the abdomen, absent in some females. They never have any red markings on the ventral side (bottom) of the abdomen.
  • make a smooth, round whithish-yellow egg sac about 10mm in diameter. More than 1 egg is found in the web
  • one of the most dangerous spider in South Africa
  • venom is neurotoxic
  • bite is painful and produces symptoms within half an hour
2) Brown button spider (Latrodectus geometricus): 

  • show an hour-glass pattern on the ventral side of the abdomen
  • they vary in colour from light yellowish-brown, with geometric patterns on the dorsal side of the abdomen, to pitch black
  • normally found around human habitation
  • lay more than 1 egg, which are slightly smaller than the black widow eggs and are always spiky and irregular in shape
3) Sac spider (Clubionidae): 

  • have a black face appearance with the compact body in various shades of cream, light brown and yellow
  • have long legs with the hairs on the foot very dark brown to black
  • chelicerae are black, long and rather stout
  • most members of this family construct tubular or flat sacs of dense white silk, either open or closed at the ends, to use as a retreat
  • leaf-curling sac spiders make sacs in rolled-up leaves, in folded blades of grass or under loose bark
  • the long-legged sacs spiders that are often found in houses make a flattened, disc-shaped sac in the fold of curtains, behind or under objects. The sacs are papery and shiny and very tough. The egg sac is similar but smaller.
  • these spiders are aggressive and will bite at the slightest provocation.
  • bites that are painless are characterised by 2 bite marks about 6mm apart.
  • the venom is cytotoxic and within 24 hours the site becomes inflamed and swollen, and ulcerates after a few days.
  • the ulterative wound is very slow in healing and often becomes subject to secondary infection. Accompanying fever may be present and often with severe headaches.
4) Violin spider (Loxoscelidae): 

  • the colour varies from brick-brown to rich red-brown, with darker markings on the abdomen
  • they have a characteristic dark-brown to black violin-shaped marking on the carapace, hence the common name
  • the spider roams freely at night in search of prey
  • the venom is cytotoxic causing ulcerating wounds, often involving severe secondary infection
  • the resulting tissue damage leaves disfiguring scars that may require plastic surgery

5) Six-eyed crab spider (Sicariidae):

  • have a flattened body with thickish legs
  • the eyes are set in 3 pairs on the front of the flattened carapace
  • the legs are extended sideways and held close to the ground
  • the venom is cytotoxic, causing severe ulcerative wounds with tissue damage at all levels
  • it destroys the tissue structure in the vinicity of the bite as well as tissue thoughout the body causing internal haemorrhaging and necrosis

6) Small Baboon spider (Harpactirella lightfooti): 

  • is from the South-western Cape
  • small and more slender than the other baboon spiders
  • it lacks cheliceral scopula and the spinnerets are very long and protrude beyond the posterior end of the abdomen
  • venom is neurotoxic

1 comment:

  1. A few corrections. The brown button spider picture does not look like a brown button spider. The potentially dangerous Sac spider is from the family Eutichuridae and not Clubionidae. Your pic looks like one of the Clubionidae which is not dangerous. The violin spider pictured is not a violin spider. The small baboon spider picture is incorrect as it shows a Pelinobius muticus, from Central Africa (One of the largest species of baboon spiders in Africa). Harpactirella is no longer considered to be dangerous either as the story was based on a report done in the early 1900's.