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Black widow

Prevalence

In Croatia, you’re most likely to run into black widow along the coastline: in Istria, Dalmatia, on the islands and in regions close to the coastline (Dalmatinska zagora).

Description

The black widow is a spider with chitin shell, whose color can vary between almost white to velvet black. It can have up to 17 mostly red dots on its back, that make this spider very characteristic – even its latin name comes from it having 13 dots (Latrodectus tredecimguttatus). They differ by location and shape of the dots, and the color changes depending on the spider’s maturity. While the spider is young, the dots are bright, almost white, and as they age a speck of orange appears. It grows wider and darker, in females becoming completely red, in males keeping a white edge. The male is much smaller, 3 – 5 mm (and much less dangerous!), while the female grows to 1-2 cm in full maturity.

 

Female black widow

Black widow bite

Young cats are the most sensitive to black widow venom, it has strong effect on horses, medium on humans and virtually none on dogs. In humans, the venom causes extreme pain, especially in lymph nodes, dehydration, excessive sweating, increase or decrease of body temperature, redness, false sense of fullness, nausea, fear of death etc. On the second day after the bite the patient feels like his legs are on fire. The best treatment of black widow bite is the use of antidote combined with calcium. 10-20 minutes after the antidote is given a patient feels gradual improvement, while in as little as 3 hours he can be fully recovered.

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