Sicarius spider bites
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The genus Sicarius, Six-eyed sand spider, occurs in the more arid areas of
southern Africa, with seven endemic species present in the region. These unique spiders are
Gondwanaland relics that also occur in South America where these continents once
joined. Sicarius are reddish brown spiders, have six eyes, and are dorsoventrally
flattened with legs extending laterally. They bury themselves just below the
sand surface and when uncovered are camouflaged with the tiniest sand particles
adhering to the body, camouflaging it to the colour of the sand.
Due to its habitat with low human occupation and its reluctance to bite,
appears to be of minor importance as far as envenomation is concerned. Few
suspected cases are on record and recently a confirmed bite presented with only
mild envenomation. Test done on rabbits indicate that Sicarius albospinosus and Sicarius spatulatus could be problematic. Experimental
animals bitten by Sicarius presented with massive tissue destruction and
death (77%), a postmortem revealing destruction of the internal organs.
Disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (D.I.C.) resulted from the
envenomation. These spiders must be regarded as potentially lethal. No rabbits
challenged with Loxosceles or Cheiracanthium furculatum venom died.
Treatment and the differential diagnosis are as for Sac and Violin spider bites
with the addition of D.I.C.