Check out this story of how a Katipo spider took on a trouser snake!
A venomous katipo spider bite on his penis was the high price a tourist paid for a skinny-dip at a Northland beach. The 22-year-old Canadian left his clothes in the sand dunes while he went for his nude swim and slept on his return, according to a report on the case in today's online NZ Medical Journal.
"He woke to find his penis swollen and painful with a red mark on the shaft suggestive of a bite. He rapidly developed generalised muscle pains, fever, headache, photophobia [light sensitivity] and vomiting," wrote Dr Nigel Harrison and colleagues who treated him at Dargaville and Whangarei hospitals.
By the time the man reached Dargaville Hospital, his penis was severely swollen, his blood pressure was up and his heart beat racing.
Chest pain and other symptoms developed the next morning and it was presumed he had been bitten by a katipo. He was treated with anti-venom medicine and rapidly improved.
However, heart problems persisted and he was treated at Whangarei Hospital and Auckland Hospital before returning to Canada.
Katipo spiders are known to have a highly specialised habitat in New Zealand sand dunes and will bite only rarely, and in defence.
This was the first known case of myocarditis, or heart inflammation, caused by a bite, Dr Harrison said. A prompt diagnosis and the use of anti-venom resulted in a good outcome for the tourist, he said.
Wikipedia has a good description of the Katiopo sider:
Latrodectus katipo, the katipo, is an endangered species of spider native to New Zealand. A member of the genus Latrodectus, it is related to the Australian redback spider, and the North American black widow spiders.
The species is venomous to humans, capable of delivering a comparatively dangerous spider bite. Katipo is a Māori name and means "night-stinger". It is a small to medium-sized spider with the female having a distinctive black body with a white bordered red stripe on its back.
North of 39°15'S females do not have a red stripe and are all black. The male is much smaller than the female and quite different in appearance, being white with black stripes and red diamond shaped markings. Katipo have a narrow habitat, being only found living in sand dunes close to the seashore.
They range throughout most of coastal New Zealand, but are not found at the southernmost regions. Spinning an irregular tangled web amongst dune plants or other debris, they feed mainly on ground dwelling insects.
And now occasional trouser snakes.
Check out this story of a Spider eating a bird!