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Neuroscience For Kids

black widow Brown Widow Spiders Arrive in Louisiana
May 11, 2007

Scientists at the Louisiana State University Agriculture Center (LSU AgCenter) are warning people in Louisiana to be on the lookout for a new, potentially dangerous invader: the brown widow spider (Latrodectus black widow geometricus). The brown widow spider is a close relative of the more well-known black widow spider (Latrodectus mactans).

The brown widow spider apparently has traveled from Florida to Louisiana. Both the brown widow spider and black widow spider are venomous and kill their prey using a neurotoxin. The neurotoxin (latrotoxin) causes a massive release of the neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

According to experts at the LSU AgCenter, brown widow spiders can be found in brush piles, crawl spaces, and under chairs, flower pots, eaves and porch railing. However, brown widow spiders are shy, less likely to bite and deliver less venom in their bites than black widow spiders.

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References and more information:

  1. Expert Says Louisianans Should Watch Out For Brown Widow Spiders - LSU AgCenter Press Release
  2. Brown Widow Spiders
  3. Neurotoxins - Neuroscience for Kids
  4. The Synapse - Neuroscience for Kids

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