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The banana spider is a common name used for two entirely different species of spiders, the argiope of North America, and the phoneutria of Central and South America, the latter of which can be deadly.
The phoneutria or South American banana spider is a large, aggressive spider with a body length of about 1.3" (3 cm). This banana spider primarily makes its home in the rain forests but can also be found in cities, where, between 1970 and 1980 it was reportedly responsible for the hospitalization of some 7,000 people in southeastern Brazil.
The South American banana spider's venom is neurotoxic, or acts on the nervous system, and is similar to the venom produced by redback spiders, also known as black widows. A phoneutria banana spider's bite will cause immediate pain, a cold sweat and irregular heartbeat. Antivenin does exist and the bite can be deadly so immediate medical attention is necessary.
Other names for the dangerous phoneutria banana spider include: bananenspinne, kammspinne, and wandering spider.
The argiope banana spider of North America possesses venom similar in nature to the venom of the black widow, but far less potent, making it quite harmless to humans. A bite from a North American banana spider will not result in much more than a welt that will pass within 24 hours. Link
Originally posted by wildcat
Can they accidentaly be shipped with the bananas?