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 Post subject: Spider: Black button
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:56 am 
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I was working in my garden recently and discovered a button spider with red marking on it's abdomen that must be the size of a macadamia nut.
How leathal is the little criter to us ?
I have a 2 year old daughter that loves spending time in the garden (outdoors) and plays in and around the area.

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 Post subject: Re: Black button spider
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 4:39 pm 
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The Black Button spider (or Black widow) is one of the spiders with a bad reputation amongst the public.

You get black buttons and brown buttons each with a few subspecies. The brown is less poisonous than the black. It is actually difficult to differentiate between black and brown since the brown can be black, and the colour of the hour glass mark also differs considerably in both species. The easiest way is to look at their egg sacks. Both are approx. the shape and size of a pea, but there are small spikes on the egg sack of the brown button.

As for danger to humans: Yes, they are potentially dangerous. But again, this is relative. Firstly these are shy and non aggressive animals, who will not attack. Bites are very rare even though this is a common species. They rather flee and try to get away. Their poison is slow working and there is no immediate crisis. Less than 1% of bites are lethal, in fact there is no confirmed cases in SA of deaths due to a black button bite.

The bite itself is very unpleasant, causing pain, cramps and even psychological symptoms such as severe anxiety. Medical treatment is very effective in treating the bite, and relieve can be expected within less than an hour. Antivenin is available.

Many bites are "dry" bites, causing no symptoms. A patient should be observed for a few days after the incident.

Many, many children live with button spiders in their homes and gardens. I would not be too worried if I were you.

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 Post subject: Re: Black button spider
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:54 pm 
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Location: Scratching around West Africa
Southern Africa is home to 6 species of spider are grouped under the name of Button Spider.

• 4 Black button spiders
• 2 Brown button spiders.

All button spiders have neurotoxic venom. The bite is felt as the spider sinks it’s fangs into the skin. After about 10 minutes, pain spreads to the lymph glands closest to the bite site. Muscle cramps and joint pain develop. Abdominal muscles become rigid. Facial expression becomes contorted, eyelids and lips swell and the jaw muscles contract. The skin becomes sweaty and clammy. Patients may suffer from anxiety.

Symptoms last for about 5 days, but complete recovery may take a few weeks. In serious cases treatment involves the use of antivenin. In many cases symptoms are much reduced and hospitalization is not necessary. However, when in doubt always seek medical advice.

Deaths from Button Spider bites is less than 1% worldwide. So far there have been no confirmed deaths from Button Spider bites in southern Africa. Brown Button Spider bites are less severe than Black Button Spider bites. In the majority of cases the victim condition worsens progressively and then suddenly improve. Antivenom is seldom necessary. Because of the pain felt at the time of the bite these spiders are usually collected and positively identified.

Brown button spiders (L. geometricus) have an hourglass on the underside of the abdomen. Black button spiders (L. indistinctus) do not. We do not have Black Widow spiders (L. mactans) in Africa.

In the USA L. mactans is responsible for a numebr of deaths. It is an aggressive spider, more venomous than any of our Latrodectus spp.

I would hazard a guess and say that you have Brown Button spiders in your garden. Just able everyone does. If the spider has a red hour glass shape under the abdomen then it is L. geometricus. L. indistinctus does not have this hourglass. L. geometricus have spiky egg sacs, L. indistinctus has smooth egg sacs. Remember that these are web bound spiders that never leave their web (after their first moult). You, or your daughter would have to put your hand (body part with exposed skin) into the web of the spider and squash it, in order for it to bite. These spiders are shy and docile (an exception is L. karrooensis that is known to be aggressive)

In short I wouldn't worry if I were you. We have all lived with these spiders in our gardens. The majority of us do not even know they are there.

Hey Imberbe! I like what you have written! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Black button spider
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:13 pm 
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:thumbs_up:

We have a number of them in our swimming pools pump house. I have worked a lot there, even pushing up right next to them, without once being bitten.

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 Post subject: Re: Black button spider
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:27 am 
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Location: ...now or later on ?
Thanks for info, ah...the little critter can remain in the circle of life :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Black button spider
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:55 pm 
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oops! Well at least it has a name I posted a pic and wondered what kind of widow I had in my possession. hehe at least I know now what to tell my friend when she goes to have the lil critters exterminated from her house. She has lil ones and so do I and we live in the same neighbor hood. So its likely that if she has them so do I. And that means I have to be careful cause like me my youngest has a fasination with the creatures and I dont want him to get hurt. But if you like i can show you the picS I have of her. She really is pretty.

Image
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 Post subject: Re: Black button spider
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:21 pm 
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We were cleaning the lapa today, and I found this HUGE Button spider. It looks like a Black Button (Widow) Spider to me:


Image

Image

Image

Is it perhaps a Brown Button Spider, and can a Button Spider gets even bigger than this one? :hmz:


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 Post subject: Re: Black button spider
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:13 pm 
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I think it's a brown Theuns, the black usually has the red on it's back.
The Brown on it's stomach.

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Last edited by Siobain on Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Black button spider
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:30 pm 
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That's interesting, Siobain. We have quite a few at home - all outside thank goodness. Next time I see one, am going to check. Tummy or back.

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 Post subject: Re: Black button spider
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:56 pm 
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You should also check the egg sacks as the Black's is a lot smoother than
the Brown, they are not aggressive, however, I was bitten by a Brown a
few years back, because of my own stupidity I have to say...walking around
in the garden at night without a torch, I walked through a web without
thinking much about it, climbed into bed and suppose I squashed it a bit
so it bit me on the leg, lucky for me it was a small one but really not a
pleasant experience.
:| Always walk around with a torch now.

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 Post subject: Re: Black button spider
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 10:02 pm 
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Thanks :thumbs_up:. I think we have brown BS - the egg sacs are spikey.

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 Post subject: Re: Black button spider
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:12 pm 
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:thumbs_up:

They are very common around Gauteng.

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 Post subject: Re: Black button spider
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:27 pm 
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Thanks for the feedback Siobain, iNkwazi and Imberbe! :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

Do we all then agree that this was a Brown Button Spider? :hmz:


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 Post subject: Re: Black button spider
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:32 pm 
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:thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Black button spider
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:38 pm 
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Siobain wrote:
:thumbs_up:

Thanks Siobain! :thumbs_up:

I'm still going to find a Black one and maybe I should look for the smooth egg sacks first! :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:


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