You have a hot-blooded Italian woman waving spiders in your face??? Hmmmmmmm…. However do you sleep at night? <img src="wink.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle border=0> But thanks for the lead in and the opportunity to expound further on Harpy’s previous thread…..
With the exception of one family of spiders that lacks venom glands, <i>Ulobridae</i>, all spiders are venomous. Most however are harmless to humans. It is an understatement to say that the black widow spider, <i>Latrodectus mactans</i>, has such an unsavory reputation but it is the females that have justly earned their common name. The <i>Latrodectus</i> family as a whole is one of the more venomous groups of spiders and they have perpetuated myths that even slandered the good names of other spider families. Perhaps best known is the epidemic of spider bites near the town of Taranto in southern Italy. The species thought to be responsible was the original tarantula, <i>Lycosa tarantula</i>. The bite had all the systemic symptoms of <i>Latrodectus</i> and its victims, known as <i>tarantati</i>, would engage in a lively dance known as the tarantella that was supposed to flush the venom from the body.
The bites were more prevalent during the month of July and the phenomenon became a local social concern where sides became divided on whether victims were truly suffering or this was just an excuse for avoiding the hard field work and engaging in wanton behavior. A Neapolitan physician wrote in 1672 that the tarantati were malingerers, wanton young women (hoo-yah), or half-wits. He added that many people, especially young women, simulated being bitten and then danced and raved under the pretext (Hmmmm… sounds like Mrs Java today) The epidemic eventually spread to southern France, Spain, and the regions of Istria and Dalmatia in what is now Croatia. The hysteria began to decline in the late 18th century and the tarantella remains a popular dance in Italy today. Pockets of tarantism survive today in remote parts Spain, southern Italy and Sardinia.
Researchers eventually found that indeed a spider was part of the story but it turned out the real culprit was the Mediterranean black widow, <i>Latrodectus tredecimguttatus</i>, known in southern Europe as the malmignatte. The bite of the malmignatte has the same systemic effects as our friendly new world black widow.
Arachnophobia is seen throughout history. It appears to be a learned fear in civilized society and is usually clinically manifested in our adult years as we fail to outgrow childhood fears. Theories abound as to why we fear spiders but in countries such as England where there are no native venomous (to humans) species, it is rare and viewed as an irrational fear. Interestingly, it is sporadic in primitive cultures and some Amazonian peoples not only have no discernable fears, they hunt the larger tarantulas as a food source.
Aaaaa! Enough educational nonsense. Time for some java opinions:
Spiders are cool. They are feared and maligned way too much. Spiders have been dealt a cruel callous and crappy hand by the creator – plus, spider sense ain’t all it’s cracked up to be in the comics. How would you like to have eight eyes and piss-poor eyesight. These octopods can’t just cruise in to the local optometrist and ask for a set of new no-line photo-grays in the latest Bosch and Lomb or Tommy Hilfigger frame style. Even if you find something, how about the other spider classmates taunting you with, "Hey, sixteen-eyes!" Then you have to stumble blindly home to your hole in the ground (sure a burrow sounds soooo much more homey but it’s still a <b>HOLE IN THE GROUND!</b> all the time you’re straining to look over your cephalothorax – you can’t casually glance over your shoulders because your head is stuck to them – in fear that a wasp might sting you and use you as a living main course for its ravenous progeny. Or you’re nervously anticipating the shadow of Dynaryder’s Bates Military Lite jump boots to announce your life’s lucky lotto loser numbers have just come up and you’re about to be one with the Vibram. <img src="smile.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle border=0> Sure I know, many spiders like the South American bird spider have excellent eyesight but how would you like being hunted for food by the Piaroa Indians or being referred to as "as big as a dinner plate." <b>You’re nothing but today’s appetizer!</b>
Little Miss Muffett sat on her steenking tuffet to set the tone and thus the fear begineth! But hey – these eight-legged joes are only trying to scrape by like you and me. We’re all God’s creatures and our arachnid friends only want to put food on the web, raise their younguns to be good exterminator-fearing citizens, and have a few blue "beer" bottle flys with the boys down at the Trap Door while watching golden orb hotties do their silk pole dance. (Would ya check out the spinnerets on that yellow number up next, Bill? Man, I'd like to get my pedipalps on that one!) Can’t we all just get along!
****! Coffee low-level light is on again! Just when I was getting into the thread of the moment it all comes crashing down like a ton of empty number two Libbys Libbys Libbys fresh cut corn cans on a hot tin roof! Come on feel the noiz!
Ooops better go… Heard Sword and Shield might be on the prowl again and the Pumpkin Cutter Thread is still tempting me to dance along the edge. Whoa! A Concrete Blonde reference! A terrible mind is a thing to waste! Bye
Stay safe! Stay sharp! (and Stay spider-friendly!)
Edited by - java on 10/13/2003 5:52:13 PM