Tuesday, June 11, 2013

^;;^ (That's a Spider)

From here
Are you sick of me talking about how wonderful my Much Older Sister is? Yes? No? Well, I don't care, because you're going to hear about her one more time today.

During our weekend at the convention during which MOS worked her fingers to the bone and I ate breakfast in the bathtub, we found that humans aren't the only ones who think she is the bomb and someone to get to know better. Arachnids apparently find her irresistible as well.

My sister went home from the convention with a brown recluse spider bite.

I know! We shared a room and bathroom (and I was in the room about 400 percent more time than she was), went to all the same places, wore basically the same type of clothes (although I wore mostly skirts and she wore mostly slacks) and still I came home unbitten and she went home with a dime-sized bite behind her knee that got worse and worse until she visited a doctor and found she had been nibbled by this innocuous-looking but dangerous beast.

Please, do not Google "brown recluse spider bite." The resulting images will scar your retinas, making it impossible to be sure that it's just Charlotte building a web in the corner and not something far more ominous. Bistatepestcontrol.com is responsible for the picture of a penny and spider that illustrates this post, and also gives the following advice on identifying a brown recluse:
These spiders usually have markings on the dorsal side of their cephalothorax, with a black line coming from it that looks like a violin with the neck of the violin pointing to the rear of the spider, resulting in the nicknames fiddleback spider, brown fiddler or violin spider. Since the violin pattern is not diagnostic, and other spiders may have similar markings (such as cellar spiders and pirate spiders), for more assurance in identification it is imperative to examine the eyes. Most spiders have eight eyes; recluse spiders have six eyes arranged in pairs (dyads) with one median pair and two lateral pairs.
Well, that's a relief. Now I can can check the cephalothorax for a violin and count the pairs of eyes to make sure I properly identify the assassin spider before I run shrieking from the room, flailing around and trying to whap every bug I see with a flip-flop. Or I can just hang around with my sister, and assume they'll bite her instead of me.

Obviously, she's much sweeter. 


  1. There is no way I'm going to get close enough to count the number of eyes on a spider that looks even remotely like this. Are they nuts? I err on the side of caution and run like heck (possibly giving a small shriek in the process...)

  2. A friend of mine just experienced a brown recluse bite and got to enjoy a helicopter ride from Hays to Wichita as a result. I hope MOS fares better!