Tag Archives: spiders

India – Two people dead after bitten by large spiders

The residents of northeastern town Sadiya – Upper Assam in India were attacked by large hairy spiders while they were enjoying a Hindu festival on May 8th. Two people have died from the consequences of these bites. The spiders came from nowhere and started attacking people and the festive atmosphere soon turned into panic.

A resident named Jintu spent a day at the Sadiya Civil Hospital after he became nauseous and felt excruciating pain in his finger. The consequences of the bite were visible two weeks after but he was thankful for surviving this horror. Another resident, Purnakanata Buragohain and an unnamed young boy did not survive this attack. Purnakata died after having an allergic reaction to the bite and the young boy also had an allergic reaction that resulted fatally.

People were constantly arriving to the Sadiya Civil Hospital with the same symptoms: excruciating pains caused by a spider bite; and some even carried the spiders to the hospital with them. 

There was an alert in Tinsukia district, asking people to stay inside their homes during the night, which is the proper time for the spiders to wander about. The two bodies were cremated without being submitted to autopsy, which made it more difficult to find a solution to the threat. No one knew which spider it was and why it attacked all of a sudden. 

On May 22nd a team of scientists led by Dr L. R. Saikia from Dibrugarh and Gauhati University came to Sadiya. The team camped in the invaded area for two days and gathered information and specimens. They stated that they cannot specify the specie but that the spider resembles the tarantula. They concluded that the spider is a highly aggressive one. The toxicity of their venom is yet to be tested.  Dr Anil Phatowali, from the Sadiya Civil Hospital, claims that they cannot claim that the fatal outcomes of the spider bites in the two cases were caused by the spider’s venom, since that may have happened because of a severe allergic reaction. The patients also first visited witch doctors who cut their wounds with razors and burnt it after having drained the blood out, and this may have also been the cause of such results. Dr Phatowali also adds that the hospital is not equipped well enough to handle such crisis. 

The one thing we can be sure of is that the spider is new in the area. This area does not have any venomous spiders nor it had any before. The panic that started to spread can be taken as proof to this claim since people are frightened because they have not seen anything like this before. They have encountered only common spiders but this spider is a highly aggressive one that attacks at any kind of action to scare it off. Those who tried to scare it off were attacked and as they claim, the spider leapt at them and buried its fangs. 
Nevertheless, this spider is causing fear to the residents of Assam and they are trying to kill as many of them as possible. 

These spiders were noticed approximately a month ago in Sadiya, Tinsukia district. After the death of two people, the panic started to spread enormously fast. Some claim that the panic is not justified since there are no venomous spiders in Assam that represent a threat to human beings. 

Soumyadeep Dutta the head of a non-profit organization – Nature’s Beckon stated that there must have been a great disturbance in the spiders’ natural habitat that made them come out in swarms.

Spiders in General

SPIDERS IN GENERAL

Spiders (Araneae) are the most famous and largest group (about 40 000 species) of spider-like animals which have special cobweb glands. Their body is constructed of two parts and these two parts are connected to the narrow part called the stem (pedicel).
They are mostly terrestrial animals (in some cases they can survive in water) and they can grow to the size of 0.4 mm and even to the size of 10 cm. They live almost everywhere where there are insects, especially in the tropics. Most spiders are carnivorous and they feed on various insects which they catch in nets woven of cobwebs.

Appearance – a typical spider has eight eyes and a body divided into two parts:
Cefalothorax
Abdomen

A spider’s mouth is surrounded by a pair of poisonous claws and jaws that look like legs.They have a sensory function, and the males are used to carry seeds.
All spiders are predators and inject venom into their prey, while others use the cobwebs. However, some cobwebs serve to protect the spider’s eggs, and some use the cobwebs to move through the air or to fly in the breeze.
There are 37 766 spider species known today, and they are located into 109 families. All spiders, except for those of the Uloboridae family, have poisonous glands and can carry into their victim from 0.3 to 0.5g of venom with a single bite.
However, the venom of most spiders is not that important medically because their clamps are too weak to penetrate human skin.
Spider venom poisoning is called araneism. Poisonous spiders are much less common in Europe than in South America or Australia, for example.

THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

The digestive system of a spider begins with the mouth, which are adapted to the intake of liquid food and this means that the digestion has to start from the outside. A spider injects its venom into the prey in order to paralyze it and then it discharges secret from its salivary glands, thus turning the prey into a half-liquid mass.
The suction part is of specific structure, specially constructed for the extraction of liquid food. The oral cavity and the pharynx make a pipe that serves to transport liquid food to the esophagus, which is also tubular and extends to the stomach.
There are hairs that prevent the esophagus to reach solid food particles at the top of the throat. The foregut is covered with a cuticle (this indicates the ectodermal origin), which is especially thickened in the stomach. The stomach is covered with strong muscles whose contractions imitate pumps and it sucks in food along with similar pump movements of the oral cavity and pharynx.
The stomach is then followed by a bowel which does not have a cuticle because of its endodermal origin.
The secondary bowel is spread into multiple diverticulums in which the main digestion of food is performed. The rectum, also lined with cuticle, has a well developed layer of muscles.
The place where the middle and the lower intestine merge is extended into an expansion from which a short tube is separated (the rectum), which leads to the vent.

HOW DOES A SPIDER MAKE ITS WEB?

First the spider releases a sticky thread that is carried with the wind. If the breeze carries the silken line to a spot where it sticks itself the first bridge is there. Then the spider carefully reinforces the line to make it stronger. After the first bridge is made, the spider makes a second Y-shaped line. These are the first three lines of the web.
The spider makes non sticky constructions at first and the distance between the lines is very wide so the spider can span it with its legs. Then the spider woves the sticky thread between the circular thread and while the spider is attaching this sticky thread to the lines it removes the construction thread.
The web is completed with sticky circular threads and the spider rests in the center of the web, with its head facing downward. After the spider hunted, the web is worn out, so the spider removes the silk by eating it and then it constructs a new web. If the web was not damaged it can be used again after the spider had reinforced it.
There are many variations of spider webs. Spiders can leave out sectors or make only one sector, leave a hole in the centre or make a single line web.

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