Madagascar is a beautiful island located off the southeastern coast of Africa. It is alluring to travelers who may want to avoid Africa’s larger and more intimidating animals like rhinoceros, lions and hippopotamus. That is not to say the island is bereft of its own life-threatening dangers. The island is home to some of the most poisonous spiders that can be found on the entire continent of Africa.
This species of spider was discovered in 2006. It was so ominously dubbed because it truly has a very scary appearance. It has long jaws that protrude from its head, which, unlike normal spiders, sits on an elongated neck far from the abdomen. The spider uses its long jaws to bypass any defense mechanisms, or reach prey trying to conceal itself, and injects lethal poison into the victim via barbs located on the jaws. The assassin spider is a peculiar breed because it mainly feeds upon other spiders, thus giving added significance to their already apt name. Despite their unsightly appearance, humans need not worry, because they are no larger than 1/8 inch and cannot puncture human flesh to deliver their poison.
Latrodectus menavodi is one breed of black widow spiders that are indigenous to the African island. They have a glossy jet-black body that bears a red mark on the abdomen. Unlike their American brethren L. menavodi’s red marking is not always shaped like an hourglass; sometimes the marking can be a single spot of varied shape, or it can be stripes, or even rings around the abdomen. Females are generally red and black, but sometimes have white spotting. Males are smaller than females and sometimes are more brown than black; they may also bear yellow and white spots or stripes. The females of this species are dangerous to humans, but not lethal. Their bite will deliver a neurotoxin that can cause severe pain, nausea and, in some cases, cause a person to go into shock and suffocate.
Latrodectus obscurior is another breed of black widow that can be found on the island of Madagascar. This particular breed is very dissimilar to other black widows because they are not black, but rather brown with red demarcations on the abdomen. They are also dangerous to humans, but again it is only the females that need be feared, because the males are too small to inflict a wound deep enough for venom to be absorbed.