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Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Friday, September 28, 2012

CARL MARSHALL: News from the Stratford Butterfly Farm - wandering spiders sent to Coventry



This is the most dangerous species of spider in the world.


Last Friday I recieved a telephone call from a friend of mine named Andy Baker. Andy works at Fyffes plc - a fruit ripening site in Coventry and he informed me that he had found an unknown "banana spider" in a shipment from Columbia and did I want it. 

Well, of course, being a devout arachnophile I said I would take a look at it as you never know what it could be, coming in a shipment of fruit. Anyway on Saturday morning Andy came in with the aforementioned beastie but unfortunately it had died over night due to being sealed in a small plastic bag, but nonetheless It was quite obvious what it was. It was a Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria nigriventer).  We had had one of these only last year on display in our nasties enclosure, that had been discovered in (you guessed it) Coventry and we kept it for over a year and then it unfortunately but quite naturally died. I kept its remains and photographed them for this article last night (Sun 23rd) when I was just shutting down my computer when the telephone rang. It was Andys wife Sarah saying that Andy had found another spider of what looks to be the same species and that the only difference was that this new spider was a good deal larger the the previous specimen and again would we take it.
This we did.

Phoneutria sp. commonly known as wandering spiders are a genus of highly venomous and extremely aggressive spiders found in tropical south and central America. They are members of the family Ctenidae. The genus contains at least eight scientifically described species. Wandering spiders are so-called because they wander the jungle floor at night rather than ambushing prey from a hidden lair or spinning a web. The Brazilian wandering spider appears in Guinness World Record from 2010 to present as the worlds most venomous spider.   

We receive all manner of seemingly unusual inverts, from native caterpillars  (which should be released!) to a black widow found on the back seat of a car from an automobile shipped from Arizona, the latter now being found quite often in the UK, although they do not yet seem to have viably extended their range from the continent. In all honesty though I can say that, at least in and around Coventry, the Brazilian wandering spider has become a more likely possibility to be discovered in ones shopping. 
The above mentioned live specimen found its way to the Co-op supermarket store in Coventry and had to be collected and returned to Fyffes plc. 

This is potentially life threatening news as this species is far more dangerous than the widow spiders which are very venomous but quite placid whereas the Brazilian wandering spider has got the attitude to match its extreme toxicity, and they do like to travel.

Andy has kindly invited me to visit Fyffes plc in Coventry to investigate further.

 












1 comment:

Tony Lucas said...

According to myth, the spider is called the " Three Step Spider ", as once you are bitten you walk three steps and you are dead. A nasty spider with a nasty attitude only paralleled by that of the Hobo spider (Tegenaria agrestis) and Sydney Funnel Web - Atrax robustus) .