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For Ben!!! - October 4, 2006, 03:47 PM

Brown Widow makes its home on Gulf Coast Tue Oct 3, 7:39 PM ET


JACKSON, Miss. - As if the West Nile-toting mosquito isn't enough to worry Mississippians, add the poisonous Latrodectus geometricus to the state's list of creepy-crawly creatures.


Dr. Jerome Goddard, entomologist with the Mississippi Department of Health, said the poisonous Brown Widow spider that is a cousin to the well-known Black Widow, is now calling the Mississippi Gulf Coast home.
"The tropical Brown Widow spider .... has recently been captured in many locations along the Mississippi Gulf Coast," Goddard said in a news release Tuesday.
He said his office has been receiving many phone calls reporting buildings and grounds heavily infested with this type of spider.
"This spider is in the same family as the Black Widow, and is poisonous to humans," Goddard said. "I first heard of a collection of this spider at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi in early 2005 and figured it was probably just an isolated incident."
The Health Department said the Brown Widow can grow to 1 1/2 inches long. It is brown or grayish-brown instead of black and has an orange-to-yellow hourglass design on its underside, as opposed to the familiar red hourglass design on the Black Widow.
"That's a dead giveaway," Goddard said. "When the hourglass design is yellowish or orange, instead of deep red, you know it is a Brown Widow."
He said there is a positive note the Brown Widow is not as aggressive as the Black Widow. And although some scientific reports claim the Brown Widow is twice as poisonous, Goddard said that was doubtful.
"One very good medical review of 45 cases of Black Widow and Brown Widow bites showed that the symptoms of Brown Widow bites were mild and tended to be restricted to the bite site and surrounding tissues (not the case with black widows)," Dr. Goddard said. "Brown Widows will not attack if they are not bothered or made to feel threatened."
Most spiders in Mississippi are unable to puncture human skin, and if they do, their venom is not generally harmful to humans. There are three main spider species in Mississippi that health officials worry about the Black Widow, Brown Recluse and now the Brown Widow.
Goddard said he was unaware of the new species existing anywhere else in Mississippi.
"I've gone down to the Gulf Coast several times and looked for myself," he said. "They are, indeed, in many places."
He said the spider probably made its way to Mississippi from Florida through commercial imports of plants, food, building materials, or furniture.
___
On the Net:
Mississippi Department of Health at http://www.HealthyMS.com.


Chris
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October 4, 2006, 04:40 PM

Yep, they are all over the place. I lived on the gulf coast of Mississippi for 7 years prior to Katrina. That place has some WICKED spiders.

I've personally seen Brown Recluse bites, and let me tell you, you don't want one. ewww. It's like the flesh in the area of the bite just dies, and it just continues to penetrate deep into the limb. Nasty.

They have a ton of spiders from South America too... because Gulfport is a major banana port. We were driving around the buffer zone around NASA Stennis Space Center sort of looking for signs of the old towns that existed there before NASA move in and came across hundreds of spiders that were between 3 and 4 inches long, some bigger. I never did find out what exactly these were, except that someone claimed they weren't native... that they came on the banana boats. They make ENORMOUS webs that span between whole trees, and they sit right in the middle (creepy as hell). They are dark black-brown with small yellow lines/marks on their legs and bodies. Long legs and pretty large bodies, not hairy like tarrantulas.

Imagine yourself stumbling upon them the way we did in the bufferzone (large area of land NASA bought to isolate their engine testing from the complaining public):

This is how it happened...

You're driving down what appears to be a 40-50 year old road that is no longer in service... so its more like a trail. Along the way you see a number of foundations, ruins of homes; the "road" has nearly no recognizable pavement, it is totally overgrown. You pass a dilapidated ruin of a church, and a small graveyard. This area was once known as the towns of Gainesville, Logtown, and Santa Rosa Mississippi. The trail gets narrower and narrower... but your old map still says this was a road once upon a time. Many roads in this area were just dirt back then. It gets eeriely dark on what was a sunny day... as if dark storm clouds came rolling in. There are no clouds though. The foliage has thickened, and the trees/branches create a sort of tunnel allowing only a little light. Even the colors seem to have shifted to a pale gray-brown among dark green leaves of low light undergrowth.

You stop, pondering moving on but not wanting to scratch up your truck too much with the branches and tall grass that you occassionally have to push through. Just then, you notice a glimmering pattern about 3 feet from the windshield. A ray of sunlight glitters off of what has to be the THICKEST spider web you have ever seen. Then you notice it. A spider in the center of the web. It's outstretched legs nearly the size of your open hand! "Holy crap, look at the size of that spider... what IS THAT?" It looks like something straight out of science fiction, and it is deathly still in the center of its perfect web.

Then your spouse notices another in the distance behind the first. Just as large as the first... and another enormous web. You look up out the driver's side window (which is down) and spot the connections of yet another massive web immediately above the truck cab. You look down into the woods off of the path and spot another 3 webs were there seemingly weren't any before. Your heart races. Your eyes widen. You freak out and put the windows up and decide you need to get out of here. The path is dark and tight with creepy streams of light breaking down through the canopy. You can't turn around, the path is too small.

You look through the back glass and put the truck in reverse. It now dawns on you that you've stumbled into some kind of hell. ALL along the path behind you are massive spider webs with similarly massive spiders. Some high in the trees, some barely above the truck, some off the path. It's as if they all just magically appeared.

"Holy shit!" you exclaim. "Look at all of them!" How the hell did you just stumble into this you wonder. You drive backwards slowly, now seeing all the webs hanging above you as your view shifts from the rear glass to the front and back. You've lost count of how many spiders and webs there are.

Your passenger side mirror catches a branch, and with that branch, part of a web. It doesn't look like normal webs you've seen before. It's THICK and strong. As you continue pulling away, it holds on to the mirror. Then you notice its owner rapidly darting down the captured threads. Its quickly tapping legs crawl right onto the mirror. Your wife starts SCREAMING and squirming. "IT'S ON THE TRUCK! IT'S ON THE TRUCK!" You feel surrounded by spiders, everywhere you look is another web and another palm sized demon. Web upon web, web behind web, web beside web. You quicken the reverse pace, truck be damned.

Finally, you break back into the open, back into the light. The thick canopy is gone... and there are no spiders to be seen. The path widens and you turn around, wondering what the hell you just went through. Then you see him. The hitchhiker your mirror picked up. He's on the windshield glass! You immediately use your wipers, but its too late. They miss! He has gone below them. You watch as he crawls into the little openings and crevases where your windshield glass meets your hood. The vents of your air conditioning and the space around your feet suddenly become dark crypts from which something is stalking you.

Making it back to the main highway, you race for a carwash. You never see the spider again. It takes you a whole month to feel comfortable in your truck again.

Needless to say, it scared the sh*t out of us... and we had the creepy crawlies for WEEKS.


"No race has ever been won in the first corner, but plenty have been lost there."
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October 4, 2006, 05:44 PM



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October 4, 2006, 08:55 PM

if anyone ever hears me say i want to go anywhere near the gulf coast.... please shoot me!!!!


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This is America I can shit where I want. FREEDOM!!!
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October 4, 2006, 09:02 PM


Common Mississippi Garden Spider - this isn't the spider I describe in my last post, but they can get a few inches in size and can be found all over the place... like, in the bush in your front yard.




Here they are... hundreds of these are what we encountered. About the size of your hand. (the web pictured is thin, but these webs were THICK)... it is a Banana Spider from South America. South Mississippi is infested with them.



"No race has ever been won in the first corner, but plenty have been lost there."

Last edited by DvlsAdvc8; October 4, 2006 at 11:18 PM..
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October 5, 2006, 09:21 AM

I seriously am going to die... I had to scroll down past those FUCKING PICTURES ASSHOLES!!! to post a reply... and now I have to scroll fast back up after this posts before they load again.

I hate you all... fuck mississipi.


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October 5, 2006, 09:26 AM



Weird thing is when I lived in Southern Texas spiders didn't bother me at all! And at one point I had a black widow on my arm which didn't even bother me (of course I flicked it off)

Now...I'm a total wuss when it comes to spiders!


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October 5, 2006, 09:29 AM

i hate spiders


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October 5, 2006, 09:43 AM

i'm glad i don't live in Mississippi...i despise spiders...


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October 5, 2006, 09:51 AM

OMG why did I click on this.

Isn't there a stat that the average person swallows two spiders (while sleeping) in a lifetime? That's the kind of shit that keeps me up at night (seriously)
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October 5, 2006, 09:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sijray21
i'm glad i don't live in Mississippi...i despise spiders...
YES!!! More opportunities for practical jokes on the roommate. OOOOH YEAH!!!


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October 5, 2006, 09:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Busamac70
OMG why did I click on this.

Isn't there a stat that the average person swallows two spiders (while sleeping) in a lifetime? That's the kind of shit that keeps me up at night (seriously)
I remember that...I think it's something like 10 per year and the average house has like 10,000 spiders...something like that! Basically, the stat detailed the number of spiders found in houses per square yard and it was crazy!

I guess just because we don't see them doesn't mean they aren't there


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October 5, 2006, 09:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Busamac70
Isn't there a stat that the average person swallows two spiders (while sleeping) in a lifetime?
actually that's 2 spiders/year


Quote:
Originally Posted by Drgnfiend
YES!!! More opportunities for practical jokes on the roommate. OOOOH YEAH!!!
god damnit...don't go to sleep when you do


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October 5, 2006, 09:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by deviousR6
I remember that...I think it's something like 10 per year and the average house has like 10,000 spiders...something like that! Basically, the stat detailed the number of spiders found in houses per square yard and it was crazy!

I guess just because we don't see them doesn't mean they aren't there

Wow, nice add...thanks for that...
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October 5, 2006, 10:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sijray21
actually that's 2 spiders/year




god damnit...don't go to sleep when you do
2? SWEET!


Chris
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