Beware of New Poisonous Spiders In the United States–Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
There are two major versions of this circulating. Both quote an alleged article from the Journal of the United Medical Association about people mysteriously dying then investigators finding deadly spiders from foreign lands living under toilet seats. One version says the spider is from South American and was found to be hiding under toilet seats in a restaurant at Chicago’s Blare airport. Another version says the spiders are appearing in North Florida, traced to a restaurant, and have come aboard airplanes from India.
This is a hoax.
Several straightforward reasons:
…There is no “Blare” airport in Chicago.
…There is no “Journal of the United Medical Association.”
…There is no such “arachnius gluteus.” It’s a created term that is probably supposed to translate as “butt spider.”
…The reference to the “Civil Aeronautics Board” will spark memories for old-timers. It hasn’t existed since 1984.
…There are no reports of such spiders under toilet seats in either Illinois or Florida.
Rick Vetter of the department of Entomology at the University of California at Riverside says he’s had correspondence with a man who claims to be the originator of this hoax. The man said he created an email loaded with misinformation just to prove the point that people would circulate it without checking out the facts.
There is a newer version of the hoax (listed below) that includes some of the same information as the first one, such as the non-existent “United Medical Association, but uses the name of an actual spider, the “Two Striped Telamonia,” which is not a very dangerous arachnid.
The spider in the photo of the sample below was correctly identified as a two-striped jumper, or Telamonia dimidiata, but it is non-venomous.
Posted 9/23/08 Updated 05/27/14