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spider found in my cellar - Pisaurina mira

spider found in my cellar - Pisaurina mira
Sandown, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA
June 22, 2012
Size: body approx 3/4 to 1inch
My son was bitten by a spider last week and got extremely ill. Didn't identify spider that bit him but have several of these in my house/cellar (image above). he had to be hospitalized with systemic septic reaction within hours of bit. Also had severe localized tissue necrosis, blistering and blackening of wound. It was cultured and found to have Staph Aureus bacteria. This type of reaction is common with Brown Recluse Spider bite(including Staph) Didn't think Brown recluse spiders were in NH.Caught this one in my cellar and would like to identify it. help?

Moved from ID Request.

NOT a Brown Recluse...
Markings and eyes suggest a member of Pisauridae, or Nursery Web Spiders.

Unless you identify the exact spider that bit your son, and confirm that it was biting him, there is no way to say what happened. Technically, any wound can result in a septic reaction such as that if the right bacteria are present. Many 'spider bites' and 'Recluse bites' are misdiagnosed when the event of the 'bite' and the spider that did bite are not identified. If the spider did indeed bite, it could have had the bacteria on it's mouthparts OR it was already present on your son's skin and was introduced deeper into the wound.

I can tell you this is not a 'dangerously venomous' spider, nor one that is considered medically significant. I hope your son recovers and doesn't bear any long term damage.

Yes this is a Pisaurina mira. They are not known to be a medically significant spider.

I agree with Cassie, that in most cases of infection the opening in the skin allows bacteria that's already present on the skin to cause the infection.

Did your son see the spider bite him? Can you tell us more about the incident?

I hope he's feeling better soon.

Thank you for responding and
Thank you for responding and for your input. We DO know he was bitten by a spider( and 2 fang marks clearly visible on zoomed image of wound). We do NOT know what spider bit him. So I'm trying to identify what I have( and I have MANY, in my cellar esp)..Doctors at most hospitals do not test for spider venom or enzyme (sphingomyelinase D) but both ER doc and orthopedic specialist confirmed that tissue damage and rapid progression was consistent with brown recluse bite, and that they had seen a few cases, but I didn't think they were in NH? As for Secondary MRSA infection, it's common to brown recluse bites as well, so could be the case with other spiders too?. I know the bacteria is present on skin but that doesn't explain why infection doesn't occur as commonly with other insect bites..seems to be more common with spider bites. I have always been spider friendly, but given my son's experience, (regardless if the bacteria was introduced by spider or not), I am going to be far less tolerant of having them in my home!

NH Spiders
As far as I know the brown recluse has not been reported in NH. I found a small article written by an entomologist from NH here but it gives no date, so I'm not sure how current it is.

I feel like a spider bite is a reasonable theory in this incident, though I would feel more confident if he had seen the spider that bit him. I'm not sure what else could possibly cause this type of tissue damage (not including the resulting infection damage). That's why I was wondering if he could give more info on how it happened.

Didn't mean to open can of wo
Didn't mean to open can of worms with all this..but yes...if Brown Recluse is NOT in NH, that's precisely why I would like to know if another spider (venom) can cause similar tissue reaction,by 1. carrying & introducing staph (or other) flesh eating bacteria into wound and 2. has venom containing enzymes which cause rapid and severe tissue reaction (blistering, necrosis,etc), and even systemic reaction similar to what is described by BRS venom. Close up of wound clearly shows 2 distinct fang type puncture wounds..and if not a spider, what else has fangs & venom that would cause this? My son had such severe tissue swelling with wide red streaks radiating from the wound up his arm into arm pit which lasted for 3 days even with IV vancomycin. He was groggy, dizzy, weak, vomitting, cold, sweaty,low BP, with tachycardia (i.e.septic shock). He did not respond to IV vancomycin until 3rd day. It was a more rapid and severe response than typical MRSA infection (from non bite wound) especially with blistering & red streaks up arm. If he had not been admitted and treated as aggressively, things could have been much worse. Of course It'd be nice to know what caused this to avoid a recurrence, but it appears there's much speculation about etiology of these wounds/infections and not enough known, or rather, not enough interest by local ER's to utilize the 'venom diagnostics' to find out. Unless you actually see/catch & ID what bit you, that is.
BTW, My background is B.S. in Pre Vet medicine and 27 years of clinical field assessment, triage and vet and med tech with a special interest in entomology since high school.( Had the best Biology teacher on the planet and that was his field of interest=).

That is awful!
I am sorry this has happened to your family.

That is all good info that might help someone to eventually figure this out. What I was asking above is how did the initial bite occur. That might also help to figure it out.

I would say in your area the spiders that are known to cause medically significant reactions are the black widows. I don't think they cause the same type of reaction your are describing though. I've never heard of necrosis or the red steaks (blood poisoning?) as part of a reaction from a black widow bite.

The Eastern Blood-sucking Conenose can cause a fairly bad reaction in some people and its bite is sometimes mistaken for a spider bite, but as far as I know it isn't found in NH either. The hobo spider has been studied as a spider of medical importance, but so far it appears it is not. You don't have the Hobo spider in your area either. One other spider has been studied for necrosis that I can think of & it is in your area is Cheiracanthium mildei. You can read the info page here. See the article about the study under the "Remarks" section.

I guess all this means that from what we currently know the brown recluse is the only spider verified to cause necrotic wounds. However, it is known that people can carry things like MRSA on their skin and any break in the skin can allow those to enter the person's system. In that case it wouldn't have mattered if it was a spider bite or a thorn prick the reason it started was just the breaking of the skin. This article gives a list of things that can cause necrosis other than the recluse.

I hope you can find out what happened so that you don't have to worry about it happening again. Feel free to post any spider you find. We'll be happy to help you ID them.

Thank you so much Lynette and
Thank you so much Lynette and I will follow upon the links you provided. It is all very intriguing. I am thoroughly checking my entire house, especially the cellar which is virtually a spider haven. The bite occurred when my son pick up a shirt he left on a wood pile in the cellar. He felt a prick and saw spider drop off the shirt but didn't think much of it. Just stepped on it which, of course, made it impossible to ID. I removed the woodpile yet but picked up a few of the one I photographed under a dryer close by. So it will remain a mystery for now. Yes, MRSA does exist on skin like step does in the throat and doesn't usually become pathogenic unless one is immuno-supressed or , as in our family's case, in constant immuno- overdrive due to prolonged exposure to toxic mold which remains in our cellar in spite of a failed remediation attempt(another dramatic long story). However, we all get cuts and scrapes and never had anything close to this reaction, except for an occasional hornet sting which gives me & 2 others severe tissue swelling and steaks..but no necrosis or sepsis. To complicate things, we all have varied chronic illnesses related to the mold exposure but we can not afford to sell or leave the house. We try to avoid the cellar where it all began, which is why it is spider haven. Today I'm donning a hep mask to vacuum, bleach clean & spray once again.If I come across any other prospective culprits, I will submit them for ID. Thanks again for the info.

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