Arthropods are a phylum of some of the planet’s most prolific species, which includes insects, arachnids, and crustaceans. They jump, crawl, fly, scurry, and outnumber humans by 200 million to one, and although most are relatively small and of little consequence to humans, some arthropods are very dangerous. North America is home to thousands of species, some of which are renown for their dangerous venom. Thus, everyone should know how to spot poisonous arthropods to protect themselves in an encounter or take the necessary actions if they are bitten or stung. So, let’s take a look at five of the most poisonous arthropods of America.
Black widow spiders are infamous for their deadly venom. However, only adult female black widows are venomous. They grow up to 1.5 inches long and have a distinguishable red hour glass on their backs. Generally, their bites are not deadly, but fatal complications can develop in the elderly and young children.
Arizona Bark Scorpion
The Arizona bark scorpion is the only scorpion in the US that may be potentially fatal to humans. Thankfully, they can only be found in regions of Arizona and California. A sting by one of these dangerous scorpions can cause numbness, severe pain, temporary paralysis, and muscle convulsions. Victims equate the sting to the sensation of experiencing an electric shock.
A brown recluse spider does not have any distinguishable markings like the black widow, which makes it difficult to identify. They can be found in many parts of the U.S., but their range is generally considered to be from western Georgia to Iowa. As their name suggests, they are very reclusive and avoid contact, but in the rare case of a bite, a wound will develop after 36 hours and become extremely painful. Without treatment, a brown recluse bite can lead to the loss of a limb.
Tarantulas are large spiders with sizable fangs and stinging hairs. They grow up to six inches in length and can be found from the Mississippi River to California. Their bites are typically not dangerous, but their poisonous hairs have been known to cause severe respiratory problems if they are touched.
Centipedes have two frontal fangs, over 30 legs, and can grow up to 12 inches in length, making them one of the most feared and poisonous insects of America. They inhabit much of the southern U.S., and their bite is very similar to a bee sting. Pain can last for up to two days, but deaths have only been recorded in young, allergic children.