Spiders and Human Cohabitation


Humans live in a world where they must cohabit Earth alongside the many creatures surrounding them; this includes one of the biggest human fears– Spiders. These creatures inhabit almost every climate, and habitat on the planet. If a person wanted to live in a place where they would never come in contact with arachnids (the scientific name for spiders), the individual would have to move to a polar region, the highest mountain peaks, or become aquatic, and inhabit the ocean. New breeds of spiders are being discovered everyday, and the areas they are known to inhabit are growing with each new species.

Many people fear spiders because they fear being bitten and poisoned by its venom. All species of the insect have some form of venom. Though they all have venom, many species can not poison a human. Research from Burke Museum showed that only 25 of the over 50,000 discovered species of spiders have the capability to cause any level of harm to a human victim. These species only account for one-twentieth of a per-cent of all known arachnids. Bees and wasps have been proven to be far more dangerous than our eight-legged neighbors.

Research has shown that no matter what area of the world a person live (except those indicated earlier as not suitable), it is highly likely that there is only one species of spider that has the ability to cause any harm. Only two species of spiders have proven to be a threat to human life. The first of these is the black recluse. This spider is identified by the shape of a violin pointing backward between it’s three sets of two eyes. These spiders will only bite when they have been provoked. Their bites are not lethal to a healthy person, but can cause fatalities in the young, elderly, or those with weak health. Victims will instead experience a painful open sore that must be treated by a doctor. The vast majority of victims do not suffer very extreme symptoms, and the site of the bite is left without a scar. In rare and extreme cases a volcano-like lesions that are feel hard. The color of the site can vary between blue, white, and red, or any combination of the three.

The most infamous arachnid is the black widow. This spider has an iconic reputation in visual media as a vanguard of impending death. This spider is known to be fatal, especially when a young child, or elderly person are bitten. These creatures can be found in all regions of North America, but are most commonly found in Southern and Western state in the United States. These spiders are identified by red patterns on their bodies. Female Black widows have a shape like an hourglass on their underside, while males have red dots on their backs. Bites are rare, and contrary to myths, the symptoms are not often life threatening. If the patient is having trouble breathing, high blood pressure, or is pregnant a doctor will administer an anti-venom.

There is a very small chance that a spider will bite a person, so facilitating their cohabitation with humans should be easy. If a person is bit, it is highly unlikely that the victim will die, so long as proper action is taken immediately. Victims should identify the exact species of spider that bit them. Ice can be applied to the bite to slow the spread of venom, and any swelling. The victim of the spider bite should also immediately seek medical treatment.

Scientists urge people to overcome their fears of spiders. Spiders are an important part of the ecosystem, and for many of them houses have been their habitat for hundreds of years. Scientists admit that they are not fighting a battle ecological battle, but a psychological one. For the protection of spiders, our (mostly) harmless roommates, humans need to find peaceful cohabitation with the apparitions of their nightmares.

By Joshua Shane


University of California Riverside
Insect Identification
Burke Museum
Australian Museum

3 Responses to "Spiders and Human Cohabitation"

  1. cataranea   April 14, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    So in addressing Sean’s concerns you’ve found another person’s image to steal and use without attribution or permission. Well done. I have informed the photographer of your infringement.

  2. george wilde   April 14, 2014 at 9:50 am

    black recluse? fist i’ve heard of that; maybe you meant brown recluse?

  3. Sean McCann   April 14, 2014 at 7:38 am

    You are using my photo without attribution, permission or compensation. I require payment for using the image, so if you are not prepared to send me a check, please remove it from your story.

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