Violin spider: consequences of the bite


A few days ago a man in Sicily was bitten by a spider with the consequent temporary paralysis of the affected limb. The type of spider is the violin one, one of the few venomous spiders on our national territory. Its venom contains sphingomyelinase D, which can lead to necrosis of affected epithelial cells. His bite is painless. It is true to say that the bite of this type of violin spider is not pleasant. Many ended up in hospital due to anaphylactic shock, but there are other truly dangerous animal species. In fact, the spider cannot afford to waste venom with each bite. Two-thirds of reported bites are venom-free. Only in the event that the animal emits the venom, the subject may experience burning pain 2/8 hours after the bite. 


In truth, the bites of the violin spider are not so painful and the cases in which the person ends up in hospital are rare. Only three people died in Italy from his bite, even if the causes are not certain. In reality, violin spiders are not that common near cities. Their favorite environment is the jagged bark of trees and the darkness created under small and large boulders. They prefer to live in the wild, otherwise they reach the suburbs and houses in the evening and at night through doors and windows. If left alone, it ignores the human being by battling the presence of flies and mosquitoes during the warmer seasons. 

Some precautions must be taken such as keeping the house clean and so the spider will leave. In a bay or in a country house, it is enough to change the sheets to prevent the spider from hiding in the folds. Always use gloves inside a woodshed when handling wood, to prevent a bite. If we analyze the data, there are more bites in an hour caused by ticks than violin spider bites in a year in all of Italy. If cities were cleaner for longer, spiders would hardly move so close to houses. 

  • What happened to the man bitten by the violin spider and why it’s a rare case (


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