spot the spider bite victim

The Brazilian Wandering Spider‘s venom is 30 times more powerful than that of a rattlesnake. A native to Brazil and northern Argentina, its diet includes lizards and mice. There is enough poison in an adult’s bite to kill 225 mice.

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It is incredibly hardy and can survive being frozen, thrown in boiling water and even microwaved for a short periodIf one of its legs becomes damaged it will amputate it with its own mouth – a new shorter leg growing within a few weeks.

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They have a distinctive defensive display in which the body is lifted up into an erect position, the first two pairs of legs are lifted high (revealing the conspicuous black-striped pattern on their underside), while the entire spider sways from side to side with hind legs in a cocked position.

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In Brazil, emergency room staff can immediately spot the victims of a bite from this spider. Patients not only experience overall pain and an increase in blood pressure, they also sport an uncomfortable erection.

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Scientists separated the different components of the spider venom and ran tests on rats to seek out the erectile enhancer. Then they injected the venom-chemical into rats stimulated to begin an erection. A tiny needle-like device inserted into each rat’s penis measured the pressure change, which corresponds with the increase in blood flow to the blood vessels inside the penis. Compared with control rats, those injected with the peptide showed a significant increase in penis pressure.

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But erections don’t last forever. The erectile party crasher, a substance called PDE-5 breaks down the cGMP and in turn transforms the erect penis into its normal limp stateThe most popular erectile-dysfunction drugs work by blocking this party crasher.

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The spider chemical works in a different manner, affecting an earlier step in the erection process. Somehow, the toxin ups the amount of nitric oxide, which sort of sets into motion an erection. The scientists suggest that a combination of a synthetic version of the spider venom with a drug like Viagra would result in a magnified effect.