A group of college students and their professor from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) recently discovered the new species of violin spider in the Valley of Mexico, a mountainous and volcanic plateau in central Mexico. Dubbed Loxosceles tenochtitlan, its name is a homage to the ancient capital of the Aztec empire, the city of Tenochtitlan. The Loxosceles genus members are also known as violin spiders or fiddle-backs due to the violin-shaped pattern often found on their back. Out of the 140 species of this genus that exist in the world, Mexico is home to at least 40. The bite of a violin spider is not fatal but it is nasty, and will most likely require medical attention. It starts with a relatively painless sore that turns purple and pink. As the team note, it can easily be confused with a skin infection. However, many Loxosceles spiders have potent tissue-destroying venoms that can rot human flesh, a process scientifically known as necrosis. The toxin varies in concentration from species to species, but it’s suspected that most (if not all) species of the genus Loxosceles have necrotic venom. The condition, sometimes called Loxoscelism, is characterized by a necrotic wound at the site of bite that can persist for a couple of months. Serious illness and death are rare, although a bite can sometimes result in necrotized flesh that may require plastic surgery to repair. “The critical stage is the first 24 hours, and sometimes up to 48 hours when you begin to see the effects. The reaction begins with a sore that expands and produces quite considerable tissue necrosis (or death of tissue),” Valdez-Mondragón told the Yucatan Times, a local Mexican newspaper, earlier this year. Violin spiders can often be found in areas shared by humans, such as dusty basements or warehouses, that contain lots of cracks to hide in and hunt from. However, if there’s any good news, it’s that this genus tends to avoid human contact, hence its other name: the
If you look carefully you can actually see the spider that @shapesinnature is trying to collect, back when we were in Arizona this summer. It runs over and under the rock. The spider is called a flattie and they are super quick! I’m posting this video today because I have just uploaded the third of three videos answering questions you asked of me last weekend in the Instagram Stories area for “Ask Me a Question.” One of the questions asked was about what my favorite spider is. If you had asked a question during the contest, be sure to see if your question was included in any of the three videos I uploaded to my “Bugs In Cyberspace” YouTube channel (click the link on my profile). I will also be announcing a new contest tomorrow, Friday, where the 1st prize will be an orchid mantis. Are you subscribed to my YoUTube channel? 😉 Stay tuned for that!