Here come the Spiders
April 29, 2011
If concern for their children and grandchildren doesn’t move your Aunt Teabag and Uncle Dittohead, perhaps arachnophobia will?
Climate change may give America’s venomous brown recluse spiders a choice: Move to a more northern state or face dramatic losses in range and possible extinction, a new theoretical study suggests.
Currently, brown recluse spiders are found in the interior of roughly the southeastern quarter of the continental United States. Researcher Erin Saupe used two ecological computer models to predict the extent of the spider’s range in 2020, 2050 and 2080 given the effects of global warming.
“The actual amount of suitable habitat of the brown recluse doesn’t change dramatically in the future time slices, but what is changing is where that area is located,” according to one of the studies authors.
“In nature, brown recluses live underneath bark or logs in dry areas or underneath hanging rocks. But humans also create a good habitat for them in cellars, attics and garages,” the article stated.
Their venom contains a toxin that causes skin to die, resulting in what are known as necrotic lesions. In about 90 percent of cases, the bite of a brown recluse has virtually no effect. The other 10 percent cause severe symptoms with potentially life-threatening complications. There are no solid statistics available, but Vetter estimates that one or two bite-induced deaths occur each year, typically in small children.
No word yet on tarantulas, black widows, scorpions, snakes and lizards. Stay tuned.