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Arizona brown spider packs one heck of a punch


Opinion by Michael Matthews Special To The Arizona Daily Star

arizona spiderWhen you buy a house in the Foothills you are told about the coyotes, bobcats and bunnies that frequent the area - we have a wash at the back of our house and see a lot of them.

You are told of the various trees and cacti and how beautiful they are when they bloom. And you are told about the other flora and fauna in your neighborhood.

So I thought we knew everything about our local wildlife. We didn't.

There's actually a rather nasty wild thing that lives amongst us - one I've just become very familiar with. Its scientific name is Loxosceles arizonica. It's a horrible arachnid more commonly know as the Arizona brown spider (closely related to the brown recluse, which is not common this far west).

I don't know how many people living here know about it, but apparently this spider is just as happy at home here as we are.

So what's this all about? Let me tell you, when Mr. Loxo gets you, you know it. One got me.

Two weeks ago I thought an ant or perhaps a mosquito had bitten me at the back of my leg. After itching and scratching for a couple of weeks I went off to see "the doc in a box" on Sunrise at Via Palomita.

The nice doctor took one look at my inflamed and itching sore - by now about four inches in diameter and bright red - told me I'd been bitten and said, "Nothing you can do about it. I will give you some antibiotics. It may take up to 10 months to heal, and then there will be a hole in your calf."

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