Story By: Jonathan Macias, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
This new species of venomous spider with a bite that can rot human flesh and which lives in household furniture has been discovered in central Mexico.
The new species was discovered by scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in the Biology Institute (IB) in the city of Tlaxcala in the state of the same name in central Mexico.
According to the UNAM, the new species was discovered by biologist and university professor Alejandro Valdez-Mondragon together with his students Claudia Navarro, Karen Solis, Mayra Cortez y Alma Juarez.
The team called the new species ‘Loxosceles tenochtitlan’ and from studying its morphology they could confirm it is a native species from the Valley of Mexico region.
The species of violin spider, also known as recluse spiders, was at first confused with the Loxosceles misteca, another species native to the Mexican states of Guerrero and Morelos but introduced in the Valley of Mexico.
Valdez-Mondragon told to local media: “As it is very similar to the Loxosceles misteca we thought that it had been introduced to this region by the shipping of ornamental plants, but when doing molecular biology studies of both species, we realised that they are completely different.”
Valdez-Mondragon also warned that this poisonous species can bite humans if they feel attacked although they usually hide in holes between objects, furniture or in walls.
“We provide them with the temperature, humidity and food to establish themselves in our homes, which puts us at risk of having an accident with them, although they also perform an important ecological function when feeding on insects.”
While they are not deadly, Loxoceles spiders are known for having a potent tissue-destroying venom that can cause necrosis lesions in the skin of up to 40 centimetres taking several months to heal and leaving a permanent scar in the end.
In the case of children, the bite can even be more dangerous as it can end up being carried by the bloodstream resulting in red cells destruction, although these cases are very rare.
They can be more dangerous during raining seasons as males look for females at night and because of their erratic behaviour they can end up hiding in cloth, bed sheets, or shoes.
The best way to keep the spiders away is by keeping houses neat and tidy.
They also are attracted to rubbish as they can feed on the insects around it and it is known that females’ are twice as poisonous as males.
Mexico is the country with the highest diversity of the genus Loxosceles as 40 out of the 140 species that exist in the world are native to the country.
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