Saturday 22th: 1130hrs.
The Brown Button Spider is probably one of only two or possibly three medically significant spiders found in South Africa.
When I say medically significant I mean potentially dangerous. But while a great many people never think twice about climbing into a car without considering the brakes, or their seatbelt, the mention of a venomous spider sends many people into a panic.
And I say venomous rather than poisonous because when we refer to something as poisonous we usually mean will it adversely affect us if we ingest it? Never having eaten a spider, I could not tell you what the effect would be, but I don’t reckon spiders are poisonous.
However, as far as I am aware all spiders have fangs and all are venomous. They use venom to paralyze their insect victims long enough to devour them.
But the number of spiders that have enough potent venom to be harmful to humans is minuscule. Most spiders fangs are just too small to even puncture our skin. You are probably more likely to have a Damascan Encounter than die from a spider bite.
Therefore, with so few potentially dangerous spiders about it is always nice to come across one that is of medical significance … such as this gorgeous Brown Button.
I featured a black Brown Button the other day – one we found in our municipal electrical box.
The difference between a Black Button and Brown Button is the red hour glass marking that all Brown Buttons have on their underside, irrespective of their colour, which ranges from a tan to black. Black Buttons, which are dark brown to black in colour feature red markings on dorsal (upper) abdomen. No ventral (underside) markings.
I have yet to encounter a Black Button and I believe they are more dangerous than their Brown cousins – only if they bite of course!
This beauty, which is more tan/brown, I found under the plug socket on the borehole box at the back of the garden. She was inside her nest hiding behind two egg sacs. I could just make out one of her legs.
Gently I prodded the web – which is incredibly tough by the way – with the stem of a piece of grass to coax her out for a photo shoot. At first she was not interested, then she dropped from behind her egg sacs onto her web, curled up in a ball, playing dead – as is their wont.
But I wasn’t falling for that old trick, so I gently blew on her and, as shy as she was, she obliged. Although from her stance you can be assured she was letting me know she was none too happy about it!
Just so cool!
Ah …. football is on at four. Time for a spot of late lunch.
Enjoy your lunch … wherever you are. Mwahahahaha!