Friday, October 9, 2009

WTF Friday! Spiders and Priapism?

Traveling the wide world of Reddit can be at times fascinating, at times disturbing, but always enjoyable to the last drop! Today, I was perusing their pages when I came across a link to this Wikipedia page for the Brazilian wandering spider (a.k.a. the armed spider a.k.a. the banana spider). Although one of their nicknames is the banana spider, the editor over at Wikipedia warns that they are "not to be confused with the relatively harmless species of the genus Nephila."

Of particular mention is the species P. nigriventer which contains a very strong neurotoxin known as PhTx3. Fortunately these spiders, like most spiders, developed mouths for small prey instead of tastier morsels like us humans. However, if you a potent enough dose of PhTx3 were introduced into your system, your death would be imminent without medical care.

First, you might lose some muscle control and have a few breathing problems, both of which increase as time progresses; however, before paralysis sets in, you discover just how much intense pain your body is capable of handling as it shoots throughout your entire system "due to an excitatory effect the venom has on [your] serotonin 5-HT4 receptors of sensory nerves."

Finally, if paralysis doesn't set in fast enough, priapism can set in, lasting hours, which can lead to impotence (if you're lucky enough to survive of course). What?! For a good time, call P. nigriventer? It's faster than Viagra and no awkward side effects! That's just messed up. What kind of cross-wired mumbo jumbo happens in the body to say, "oh, I'm in excrutiating pain, I need an erection?!" Remind me to keep a healthy distance from any spiders from now on. In fact, I think I'll just call off my friendship with any critters that use neurotoxins. I'm looking at you Dendroaspis sp. And familyTetraodontidae? Yep you too, but hey, we had a great run!

I guess, if I were to call this leaving you on a good note, there are currently scientists study P. nigriventer's chemical Tx2-6 for use in combating impotence and erectile dysfunction. Ladies and gentlemen, there's your silver lining!