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Attack of the Arachnids – Indian Village Overrun By Poisonous Spiders

05 Jun

Wow – this one is like something out of a 80’s horror movie. For reasons unknown, villages in part of India have been swarmed by a previously unknown type of Tarantula…

Mysterious Poisonous Spiders Invade Indian Town

Swarms of never-before-seen spiders descended upon a cultural festival in the northeastern Indian town of Sadiya last month, biting several people and leaving two dead. The arachnid “invasion,” as the Times of India called it, caused a panic among festival-goers who reportedly jostled one another and tripped over benches in an effort to escape the venomous spiders.

A spider suspected to be a new species of tarantula in Tinsukia, Assam state, India, is shown, May 30, 2012. The hairy spiders were first noticed about a month ago across Tinsukia district’s grassy plains and dense jungle forests north of the Brahmaputra River.

Scientists from Dibrugarh University and Gauhati University have not been able to identify the spiders, which resemble tarantulas but may be a new species altogether. Ratul Rajkhowa, a professor of zoology at Cotton College in the city of Guwahati, told the Times that the spiders could be black wishbones, a species native to Southern Australia. If that’s the case, the spiders’ venom would not be deadly but could, in some individuals, cause severe allergic reactions that may result in death. The individuals who died after being bitten by the mysterious spiders were reportedly cremated before autopsies could be performed, and scientists have yet to test the toxicity of the spiders’ venom.

The sudden infestation nevertheless remains a concern for both scientists and Sadiya residents, as venomous spiders are not native to India’s Assam region, where the attacks occurred.

British naturalist Vejay K. Singh told the Times that, while swarms of spiders are rare, ”a certain anomaly in conditions may provoke an unusual surge in breeding populations…usually after flooding when the spiders search for dry and higher ground.” Post-flood spider swarms in Australia last March left farmlands blanketed in spiderwebs, while in Pakistan millions of spiders enveloped trees  following last year’s devastating floods.

Specimens of the Sadiya spiders have been sent to the Indian Society of Arachnology in the state of Maharashtra for identification.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in News

 

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