When I saw "Arachnophobes" as a posting, I just had to stick my two-cents in. I'm a writer who has been researching brown recluse spiders, one of the few poisonous spiders in the US. Most of what you hear about recluses is myth, much of it flowing around the internet. Check out the scientific data, not just the numerous recluse sites that claim how deadly this species is. Yes, the recluse does deliver a necrotic venom, but its effect varies from person to person. On many people,it will not affect them any more than the bite of any other arthropod. Stories of limbs dropping off and so forth, are either false, or the result of several forms of bacteria that any biting insect, spider, or arthropod can deliver. The wolf spider, for instance, while its venom is unpleasant, alone can't cause serious injury: however, its bite can be septic (that is, can carry dangerous flesh-eating bacteria, among others), and this species is also rather aggresive, particularly if you venture near its egg nest. (By the way, if you care to, one way to spot wolf spiders in your garage, for instance, is to take a flashlight at night and scan the floor with the light. Wolf spiders are wary visual hunters, and their eyes, like a cat, will reflect light like tiny headlights. So if you have any wolves in the garage or shed, you'll be able to watch them watch you. Heh.) Hobo spiders, found in the west, are also rather aggressive, with a similar necrotic venom as the brown recluse. The recluse, for some reason, seems to get a bad rap, which is ironic, because it is rather shy (hence the "recluse" name) and will only bite humans defensively. Even then, while the bite should be examined by a doctor (capture the spider if you can to verify what species it is!), massive necrosis is so rare as to challenge whether it happens at all. In addition, the greatest myth about the recluse is that, to hear other people, the little critter is rampant in all fifty states. Not so. The recluse is found in the central-south areas of the US. No one has ever verified a recluse population beyond these regions. (Look up Rick Vetter's Brown Recluse Site on the internet for a map of BRS population areas.) You'll also find quite a few sensational sites containing gruesome photos of supposed BRS victims, and a number of sites trying to cash in on the BRS myth: one doctor has a site recommending the use of a stun gun to cure the supposed bite area; other sites, including Terminex, offer special pesticides and traps designed to kill BRSs and hobo spiders. Ain't the American system of capitalism grand? Reminds me of the gougers of the recent (August 2003) power blackout.
The only REALLY dangerous spider in the US is the black widow, and even then, while the widow's venom is an extremely painful neurotoxin (an excruciating cramping of the abdomen is the first sign of a widow bite, and usually happens within an hour after the bite itself), the few who actually die of a widow bite are children and elderly people. Fortunately, antivenim is available for widow bites, and usually brings immediate relief from the many painful symptoms of this kind of bite.
As for the Spyderco insignia: It's occurred to me that the design looks more like a mite or tick (both arthropods and distant relatives of spiders), and to downplay the "spidery" attributes of the design, the legs are blunted and the "body" appears to be one joined form, as opposed to a genuine spider, which has a distinct cephothorax (head and thorax fused) and abdomen.
I've never heard of a satisfactory reason from any scientist as to why arachnophobia is so common. I can't stand the little critters myself. Any spider wandering in my home must die! It surely can't be because it has eight legs instead of an insect's six. A spider with only six legs is just as scary. (Spiders, incidentally, have a peculiar ability to auto-amputate one or more legs in case of danger, and if the spider is young enough, can regrow the limb partially.)
I'll try to download a photo of a BRS. If it doesn't work, though, the BRS is of modest size, and has a violin-like design on its head and thorax (hence, the BRS is sometimes called "fiddleback" spider). It ranges from light tan to dusky brown.
Sorry about the long lecture. Hope this helps clear things up.
Edited by - Harpy on 8/22/2003 7:02:39 PM