According to the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany, Brazilian Wandering Spiders’ venom is a complex cocktail of toxins, proteins and peptides.
The venom affects ion channels and chemical receptors in victims’ neuromuscular systems. Its bite has a cringe-inducing side effect for any men unlucky enough to get bitten.
Brazilian Wandering Spiders (Aranhas Armadeiras), Phoneutria Nigriventer, P. Keyserlingi and P. Fera, are sometimes said to have the world’s most toxic spider venom—probably based on a well publicized study where mice were killed by intravenous injection of as little as 0.006 mg of venom.
The Brazilian Wandering Spider can grow to have a six inch leg span and is known to stand on its back legs as it prepares to sink its deadly fangs into passing prey.
People who are bitten by a Brazilian Wandering Spider should seek medical attention immediately. Initial symptoms such as severe burning pain at the site of the bite, sweating and goose bumps will be experienced once bitten.
Within 30 minutes, symptoms become systemic and include high or low blood pressure, fast or a slow heartbeat, nausea, abdominal cramping, hypothermia, vertigo, blurred vision, convulsions and excessive sweating associated with shock.
The bite of a Brazilian Wandering Spider can deliver a long, painful erection to human males which can last for up to four hours, in addition to intense pain and possible medical complications. Several studies have looked at incorporating the venom into drugs for erectile dysfunction.
The venom boosts nitric oxide, a chemical that increases blood flow. That’s assuming you survive the excruciating erection however, with the spider’s deadly venom known to kill its victims in just two hours.
The Guinness Book of World Records considers the Brazilian Wandering Spider the most venomous in the world. Hundreds of bites are reported annually, but a powerful anti-venom prevents deaths in most cases.
A Brazilian study, published in the journal Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo in 2008, revealed that only 2.3 percent of bites were treated with antivenin. It is unlikely that the spider would inject all of its venom. Only 10 deaths had ever been attributed to the spider’s bite in Brazil, and “cases of serious envenomation are rare.”
Authoritative sources state that over 7,000 authentic cases of human bites from these spiders have been recorded, with only around 10 known deaths, and about 2% of cases serious enough to need antivenom. So despite the surprisingly large number of bites, this spider is not exactly public enemy number one either.
The creature isn’t all bad though, as experts hope a cure for erectile dysfunction could be found in its venom. Researchers are currently investigating the toxic substance to see if they can extract chemicals which could help struggling men to reclaim their libido.
The term ‘Brazilian Wandering Spider’ actually refers to not just one spider, but a number of extremely venomous spider species found primarily in South (especially Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Suriname, Peru and Guyana) and Central America. They are also known as the ‘banana’ spider (because these spiders are frequently found in shipments of bananas), the Brazilian Wandering Spider ‘wanders’ the jungle floor as opposed to living in a lair or building a web.