Iowa Insect Information Notes

Arachnius gluteus - the South American Blush Spider

Arachnius gluteus - the South American Blush Spider

Recently an e-mail message has been circulating, warning of the South American Blush Spider (Arachnius gluteus) that lurks on toilet seats, ready to give a fatal bite to its next unsuspecting victim.

There is no such thing.

There is no spider genus Arachnius. There is no United Medical Association and thus no Journal of the United Medical Association.

Gluteus maximumus is the name of a muscle in your rump. Don't you think it odd that a spider that supposedly bites there would be called the Blush Spider?

This is a hoax, plain and simple. Don't believe it!

The original text of the email message:

      I'm told this isn't a joke. Take it or leave it!: 
Please pass this on to everyone on your email list:

According to an article by Dr. Beverly Clark, in the Journal of
the United Medical Association (JUMA), the mystery behind a
recent spate of deaths has been solved.

If you haven't already heard about it in the news, here is what
happened. 3 women in Chicago, turned up at hospitals over a 5 day
period, all with the same symptoms. Fever, chills, and vomiting,
followed by muscular collapse, paralysis, and finally, death.
There were no outward signs of trauma. Autopsy results showed
toxicity in the blood.

These women did not know each other, and seemed to have nothing
in common. It was discovered, however, that they had all visited
the same restaurant (Big Chappies, at Blare Airport), within days
of their deaths.

The health department descended on the restaurant, shutting it
down. The food, water, and air conditioning were all inspected
and tested, to no avail.

The big break came when a waitress at the restaurant was rushed
to the hospital with similar symptoms. She told doctors that she
had been on vacation, and had only went to the restaurant to pick
up her check. She did not eat or drink while she was there, but
had used the restroom.

That is when one toxicologist, remembering an article he had
read, drove out to the restaurant, went into the restroom, and
lifted the toilet seat. Under the seat, out of normal view, was
small spider.

The spider was captured and brought back to the lab, where it was
determined to be the South American Blush Spider (arachnius
gluteus), so named because of its reddened flesh color. This
spider's venom is extremely toxic, but can take several days to
take effect. They live in cold, dark, damp, climates, and toilet
rims provide just the right atmosphere.

Several days later a lawyer from Los Angeles showed up at a
hospital emergency room. Before his death, he told the doctor,
that he had been away on business, had taken a flight from New
York, changing planes in Chicago, before returning home. He did
not visit Big Chappies while there. He did, as did all of the
other victims, have what was determined to be a puncture wound,
on his right buttock.

Investigators discovered that the flight he was on had originated
in South America. The Civilian Aeronautics Board (CAB) ordered an
immediate inspection of the toilets of all flights from South
America, and discovered the Blush spider's nests on 4 different
planes!

It is now beleived that these spiders can be anywhere in the
country. So please, before you use a public toilet, lift the seat
to check for spiders. It can save your life!

And please pass this on to everyone you care about.

Don't pass it on!

Updated 08/11/2005 - 2:27pm