Intended for healthcare professionals


Redback spider is now established in Japan: bites can be recognised by a unique sign

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 17 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1484
  1. Peter Horton, NH and MRC research fellowa
  1. a National Pancreas Transplant Unit, University of Sydney, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia

    Editor—The infamous Australian redback spider (Latrodectus mactans hasselti; fig 1), known for inhabiting the underside of toilet seats and biting bottoms, is now in Japan. More alarming to the Japanese is that these spiders—relations of the black widow—are continuing to breed and spread in the Japanese winter, surviving temperatures as low as 4°C by living near heating systems. The spiders often live near or beneath houses and females will bite defending their nests, which can contain 300 eggs. Japan, like …

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