Armed Brazilian wandering spider on the attack in store’s bananas

The Brazilian wandering spiders (Phoneutria spp.), armed spiders are a genus of aggressive and highly venomous spiders found in tropical South and Central America. These spiders are members of the Ctenidae family of wandering spiders. Sometimes they wander far from home.250px-wandering_spider

In Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 19, 2009 an alert produce man found a spider in the bananas he was un-crating. The spider saw him and gave chase trying to bite him. Quickly he found an empty plastic container and trapped it. Then went to the internet to identify this hostile beauty.

He found that this spider is venomous and possibly deadly if seriously injected with venom. Although some experts dispute these findings. No one wants to volunteer to be the research guinea pigs for a study of the amount of venom or the duration of bite needed to kill a man. It is known that all bites are not deadly. Recent studies suggest that these spiders only inject venom in approximately one-third of their bites and may only inject a small amount in another third. However, research in this area is hindered by the difficulty of identifying particular species.

Bites from these spiders may result in only a couple of painful pinpricks, or may involve full-blown envenomation.,P. nigriventer venom contains a potent neurotoxin, ( PhTx3), It acts as a broad-spectrum calcium channel blocker that inhibits glutamate release, calcium uptake and also glutamate uptake in neural synapses. At deadly concentrations, this neurotoxin causes loss of muscle control, and breathing problems, resulting in paralysis and eventual asphyxiation. In addition, the venom causes intense pain and inflammation following an attack due to an excitatory effect the venom has on the serotonin 5-HT4 receptors of sensory nerves. This sensory nerve stimulation causes a release of neuropeptides such as Substance P which triggers inflammation and pain.

Aside from causing intense pain, the venom of the spider can also cause uncomfortable erections that can last for many hours and lead to impotence.


People bitten by a Phoneutria, or any Ctenid, should seek immediate emergency treatment, as the venom can be life threatening.

P. fera and P. nigriventer are the two most commonly implicated as the most virulent of the Phoneutria spiders.


Image and Excerpts: courtesy of Brazilian wandering spider

Killer Spider In Aisle 5
Play Video courtesy of AP – Killer Spider In Aisle



  1. March 20, 2009 at 9:03 am

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