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Spider: Brown Button (Widow)

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Imberbe
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Re: Black button spider

Unread post by Imberbe » Sat Mar 14, 2009 4:39 pm

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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Re: Black button spider

Unread post by ScorpionKing » Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:54 pm

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:
Jonathan Leeming

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CuriousCanadian
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Re: Black Widow Spider

Unread post by CuriousCanadian » Sun May 10, 2009 1:42 pm

it does look like one.... :shock:

Appreciate what you have before it becomes what you had.

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TheunsH
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Re: Black Widow Spider

Unread post by TheunsH » Sun May 10, 2009 5:14 pm

CuriousCanadian wrote:it does look like one.... :shock:


Thanks for the video CC....beautiful music though! :thumbs_up:

Siobain wrote:Could be a Brown widow.

I was bitten by one once, not a good experience. :|


I agree Siobain. It looks like a Brown Widow.

I found this on the internet:

"Brown Widows can be located by finding their eggsacks, which are easily identifiable. They resemble a sandspur, having pointed projections all over, and they are sometimes described as "spiky" in appearance. Eggs hatch in approximately 20 days (Jackman 2006, p. 2).

Like all Latrodectus species, L. geometricus has a medically significant neurotoxic venom. Dr. G.B. Edwards, a University of Florida arachnologist claims that brown widow venom is twice as potent as the black widow venom, but is usually confined to the bite area and surrounding tissue, as opposed to the Black Widow. Other sources say that the brown widow is less venomous than L. mactans. Regardless, people who have been bitten typically describe the experience as very painful and extreme care should be taken when working or playing in the areas they inhabit."


(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latrodectus_geometricus )

The photo of the Brown Widow on the net looks the same as the one that I've saw.

What happened after you were bitten Sioban? :shock:

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Re: Black Widow Spider

Unread post by Johann » Mon May 11, 2009 10:42 am

I think someone (maybe it was Bushsnake) has mentioned this before.
We do not have widows in South Africa. They are from the same genus Latrodectus but are different species and are called 'Button spiders'

Widows if I remember correctly are found in the Americas, North Africa and Asia.
In Australia you'll find the Redback.
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TheunsH
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Re: Black Widow Spider

Unread post by TheunsH » Mon May 11, 2009 4:48 pm

Johann wrote:We do not have widows in South Africa.


Hi Johann and thanks for the info. I had a look on the internet and have found the following:

"Latrodectus is a genus, in the family Theridiidae, that contains approximately 31 recognized species of venomous spider. The common name widow spiders is often used to refer to members of the genus. The Black Widow spiders are well known members of the genus."

"The spider Latrodectus geometricus, commonly known as the brown widow, grey widow, brown button spider, or geometric button spider, is one of the widow spiders in the genus Latrodectus. As such, it is a "cousin" to the more famous black widow spider."

"The brown widow is found in parts of the northeastern and southern United States (including Florida, Alabama, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas); as well as in parts of Australia, South Africa and Cyprus. The origin of this species is uncertain, as specimens were independently discovered in both Africa and in the Americas. They are usually found around buildings in tropical areas."

"But there are widow spiders on every continent of the world except for Antarctica. The single species occurring in Australia, Latrodectus hasselti, has Redback as one common name; African species of this genus are sometimes known as button spiders."


It seems that it's the same spider with different names in America, Africa and Australia. :hmz: :hmz:

(Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latrodectus_geometricus , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widow_spider )
Last edited by TheunsH on Mon May 11, 2009 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TheunsH
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Re: Black Widow Spider

Unread post by TheunsH » Tue May 12, 2009 2:27 pm

Johann wrote:I found the page I referred to earlier. It was actually Scorpionking and not Bushsnake. Have look here at what he said.

Thanks for the link Johann! :thumbs_up:

Johann wrote:Wikipedia does have loads of info but I'm inclined not to always believe everything 100% on there. You must remember that the info can supplied by anyone and they might not necessarily be an expert on the subject. I know that Scorpionking and Bushsnake are experts by reputation so I would listen to what they've got to say.


Sure I agree with you, I'm also inclined not to always believe everything I read on Wikipedia, but that applies to other sources as well.

I’m not an expert on spiders so I have to rely on what the experts are saying!

According to Dr Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman, a Specialist Scientist at the ARC-Plant Protection Research Institute, Spider Research Centre, Pretoria, six species of button spiders belonging to the genus Latrodectus of the family Theridiidae are found in South Africa and that the button spiders can be divided into the black button spider complex (4 species) and the brown button spider complex (2 species.) She also states that button spiders are elsewhere in the world known as widow spiders.

According to the Australian Venom Research Unit redback spiders are members of the widely distributed Latrodectus genus known as widow spiders.

I therefore understand that button spiders (southern Africa) and redback spiders (Australia) are a common name use to refer to local members of the spider genus, Latrodectus, the family Theridiidae which spiders are also known as widow spiders elsewhere in the world. Can’t I then say that a redback, button and widow spiders are all the same thing?

It seems that there are three recognized species of black widow found in North America and the southern black widow (L.mactans) is one of them. So I will agree that Africa doesn’t have a species of black widow spiders known as L. mactans but we do have 4 species of black widow spiders known as L. cinctus, L. indistinctus, L. karooensis and L. renivulvatus.

I need help please! :pray:


bishop3006 wrote:What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.


bishop, I think you are spot-on! :thumbs_up:

(Sources: http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za/2005/a ... spider.htm , http://www.avru.org/compendium/biogs/A000006b.htm , http://www.rmgh.net/wiki/index.php?titl ... dow_Spider )

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Re: Black Widow Spider

Unread post by bishop3006 » Tue May 12, 2009 4:53 pm

A Canadian friend on a hunting list I'm on put it in perspective some time ago when a spider came up and I called it a button and they called it a widow. (Think it were those photos of a button catching the small snake.)

DJ's words were something to the effect that over there such a poisonous spider is serious stuff, where there's bear, wolves, snakes and puma, and not much else, that can kill you. There it is a widow - serious stuff! Over here it is merely a button. There's so many things that can get you here, that a mere spider is infinitesimal in the bigger scheme of things! :mrgreen:

And for a different perspective, we were discussing temperatures as well one time. He says when they barbeque (braai) outside in winter, they put their beer in the snow to keep warm. If they hold it in their hands or put it on the table it freezes! :big_eyes:

I do find all this talk quite interesting - thanks for all the info on all sides.
Marius
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I believe that for man to survive, we must work with nature rather than against her. We need the land; the land doesn't need us. Too many people have lost sight of this fact. - Bruce Truter

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TheunsH
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Re: Black button spider

Unread post by TheunsH » Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:21 pm

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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Re: Black button spider

Unread post by Siobain » Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:13 pm

I think it's a brown Theuns, the black usually has the red on it's back.
The Brown on it's stomach.
Last edited by Siobain on Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Black button spider

Unread post by iNkwazi » Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:30 pm

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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Re: Black button spider

Unread post by Siobain » Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:56 pm

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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Re: Black button spider

Unread post by iNkwazi » Sat Sep 26, 2009 10:02 pm

Thanks :thumbs_up:. I think we have brown BS - the egg sacs are spikey.
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Imberbe
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Re: Black button spider

Unread post by Imberbe » Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:00 pm

Yes, as the others mentioned, the egg sack is the definitive way to make a positive i.d.
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Re: Black button spider

Unread post by ScorpionKing » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:04 pm

Hi Folks

We do not get Black Widows (Latrodectus mactans) in Africa. We do getr Black button spiders which are a different species, different behaviour and very different venomosity. Black button spiders are extremely rare in the urban environment. They prefer the natural environment, away from habitation. Our black button spiders DO NOT HAVE A RED HOURGLASS (excuse me for shouting). Our Brown button spider are common in the urban environment and are a fraction venomous as the Black button Spider.

Another snippet of info is that there are no medical records of anyonw dying from a Black button spider bite in Southern Africa in the past 50 years.

If you find a spider with a red hourglass marking under the abdomen it is a Brown button spider.

Kind regards
ScorpionKing


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