Saturday, September 27, 2014

Poison's in my bloodstream, poison's in my pride

In the drunken aftermath of "Leonard Cohen Karaoke and Dendrogramma enigmatica Affiliations in Bilateralia Night" at the Old Entomologist, the conversation turned (as it so often does) to
  1. the anti-invertebrate, pro-tetrapod bias in contemporary culture, and
  2. Sensory deprivation tank: Doin it rong
  3. the unfairness that Vonda McIntyre wrote Dreamsnake around the conceit of bioengineering snakes to administer medicinal does of poisons... thereby squandering an opportunity to rehabilitate the reputations of scorpions, spiders, centipedes and one species of basal crustacean.
If my hand-written summary of the following heated discussion is to be trusted -- and if it can actually be read, through all the beer stains -- then

1. The surrent holder of the title of "World's most poisonous spider" is the Six-eyed sand-crab spider Sicarius sp. In animal tests, its cytotoxic, haemorrhagic venom  kills rabbits through internal bleeding and general ooze in the manner of Ebola virus. Fortunately its life-style is such as to minimise contact with humans other than Cameron Slater, i.e. it lurks under flat rocks. Newlands and Atkinson only managed to find two reported cases of probable Sicarius envenomation where the victims showed the expected symptoms of liquefaction in the absence of multiple bites by cobras and rattlesnakes.

The Doctrine of Similars leads us to predict that the best treatment for a Sicarius bite is a homeopathic dose of Ebola. In fact that is the plot of a forthcoming Japanese horror movie.

Sicarius seldom eats -- it can survive two years without food -- so conversely, a highly-diluted dose of ground-up spider is an obvious homeopathic remedy for anorexia.

3. Canadian spiders are weird.
4.This spider does backflips and cartwheels, after watching too many Wuxia movies convinced it that it can thereby evade the weapons of its enemies. It remains to be seen whether its bite will bestow acrobatic superpowers.
The Acrobat's Exercises
Let the record show that 'agorabat' and 'claustrobat' are names for performers of daring feats in wide-open spaces and confined spaces respectively, and if the lexicographers say otherwise than they are PART OF THE CONSPIRACY TO SUPPRESS THE TRUTH.

5. Fishing spiders have been in the news lately [h/t ITTDGY]. Here is the New Zealand fishing spider, Dolomedes aquaticus.

The Whackyweedia entry lacks a description of its fishing techniques (we would edit it ourselves, but for some reason the Whacky administrators have blocked the Riddled IP address). The North Island subspecies ties its own lures from feathers and strips of shiny plastic. South Island populations lack the aesthetic instinct and prefer to stun the fish with a stick of C4.

Attempts to prosecute fishing spiders for catching rainbow trout without a license have all failed, with the courts accepting the defense that the indigenous status of D. aquaticus exempts it from fish-&-game legislation.

6. Canadian spiders are not only weird, but dangerously adept in their mimicry skills.


Yastreblyansky said...

Your excellent post is marred by a missing syllable under point 1, which should read "... the surrepent record holder," unless I am mistaken. I only point it out because this word rarely receives the attention it deserves.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Tumbling spiders are awesome.

Although it appears some do not agree.

Smut Clyde said...

Tumbling spiders are awesome.

There needs to be a a microblogging platform and social networking website that allows users to post images of them and link to other people's images of tumbling spiders. I don't know what you'd call it, though.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...






Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

If my hand-written summary of the following heated discussion is to be trusted -- and if it can actually be read, through all the beer stains -- then

I feel your pain. Such is the lot of the boozy chronicler.

Cloudia said...

How glad am I to have wandered into your Crystal Palace of cultivated play!

Weave on, web spider-

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Mantis Shrimp news!