The web of an Australian funnel web spider, genus Atrax.
The ctenid spiders are the dominant hunting spiders of the tropics. One, the Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria), is very dangerous – and aggressive. Be sure to shake out your pants each morning!
A Nurseryweb Spider, Dolomedes, on her nest full of spiderlings
This is the largest species of scorpion in Belize and is about 4 inches long when the tail is extended.
Scorpions are secretive and are usually hiding in rotting logs. They are nocturnal, and we will see them around where we stay and visit. Be sure to shake out pants and shoes each morning!
The proper way to pick up a scorpion is to pinch your fingers over the sides of the stinger – while the scorpion is running. It takes cool nerves and cojones grande. This is the common species we see in Belize. Saul Sotolongo, the Man – 2002. Cockscomb.
Recent studies have shown that at least some scorpions use two types of venom. Scorpions use a clear venom (called prevenom), followed by a cloudy venom. Prevenom is less complex and is composed primarily of potassium (16 times that of venom) that is deadly to invertebrates and produces a burning sting in mammals. They later (maybe in the same dose) produce a cloudy venom that is composed of proteins (six times as much as in prevenom) and 100+ peptides. It does not sting as badly, but is five times as harmful to mammals. Therefore, it appears that the less complex prevenom may be used to kill prey and warn mammals to back off. The venom convinces mammals that they made a mistake!
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