More Odd Fascinations: Spiders

I don’t know why, but ever since boyhood I have been most fascinated by the creepier, crawlier, more lethal inhabitants of this woeful speck spinning through the silent Void. Maybe I was genetically predisposed to be on the lookout for danger in all its forms. If so, WELL DONE, genes.

Any-old-hoo, next to sharks, snakes, and crocodiles, spiders interest me greatly, especially if they are possessed of venom capable of launching humans on a one-way trip out of the mortal coil. Scientists have bickered among themselves for decades as to which spider species is the most venomous on earth. Yes, scientists bicker and argue and hit each other and interpret data differently all the time. They are just as insufferable as theologians yammering over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, for those who think that all scientists dwell in some Glistening Bubble of Perpetual Agreement. As we have seen with our beloved politicians … facts can be relativized. Frequently.

But that’s an issue for another post. This one is about spiders.

A RECENT ARTICLE seeks to rank the world’s most venomous arachnids, but you don’t really need them to explain the truth to you. You need only ME. The most venomous spider on earth, milligram for milligram of toxin, is the phoneutria spider of Brazil, Central America, and probably coming soon to South Florida if things continue as they are.

The term “phoneutria” means “murderess” in Greek. That ought to explain everything, but let me elaborate.

Also known as “wandering spiders,” they are large, lively, and aggressive arachnids that do not live in webs but roam randomly about their territory. They also do not back away when confronted by pesky Brazilian housewives with brooms. Oh, hell no. If cornered, these Big Babes will lift their two, long front legs high into the air, sway back and forth while exposing their bright red venom glands, then jump onto the broom, run madly up its length and then leap onto the lady of the house to bite her repeatedly and aggressively in her goiter.

Yep. They are BAD ASS. Photo below, from Wikipedia:

Go ahead. Try to chase one of these Big Mamas out of your bedroom or stick your toes into a shoe while she’s having a little nap inside. You’ll soon see what’s what.

What makes the phoneutria species of spiders so exceptionally dangerous (aside from their relentless aggression) is the fact that their venom glands (the largest in the spider world) contain a brew of multiple toxins comprised of nerve-shredding peptoids and dangerous proteins, along with a high level of serotonin for the maximum infliction of pain. Bites from this spider can be so agonizing that victims are often left hallucinating through their own screams.

The bite from a “Brazilian Wandering Spider” is also famous for one of its more peculiar side-effects: in males, a serious bite often results in throbbing erections that last hours on end.

Do you hear that little bell ringing? So do I.

Pharmaceutical companies are already mining the secrets of phoneutria venom in order to create new drugs intended to solve erectile dysfunction in men because not enough people are fucking around the globe. There aren’t enough humans, you see. It’s a big problem and this hairy spider can help.

So if you happen to see one of these beasties, run away quickly but as you make that mad dash, think of the penises that will inevitably be rejuvenated by the fang-spew of the Phoneutria and waft a prayer toward Olympus to virginal warrior Athena, who created spiders in the first place and who clearly intended some of them to empower swords of a different sort.


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