Possibly dangerous hunter
Two years ago I was bitten on my right hip by something, probably while I slept. The only visible marks were two small, distinct marks (pink flesh wounds similar to the result of a prick of a needle). The first time I knew something was wrong was when, in putting on my shorts that morning, I lightly pressed against my hip. I immediately fell to the floor with a cry--the pain was the worst I have ever felt, like a gunshot to my marrow. In tenderly inspecting the area I found that I had lost feeling across the entire surface of my right hip--diameter of 4-5 inches. I called my doctor and he said to forget about it, it would probably go away. It didn't. The severe pain with pressure over the bite area stayed with me for 3 months. I didn't regain feeling across my hip for about 8 months.
As the pressure pain faded I began to have stabbing pains at odd times in my right hip. Over time they have spread throughout my body. I have continuous muscle spasms in my legs (myokymia and fasciculations) and muscle cramping and twitching throughout my body. After a visit to Mayo clinic in Min. the neurology dept made the assessment of an unkown autoimmune disease triggered by a venomous bite. Since then, over a year ago, we have found that I have a form of a rare disease called neuromyotomia, which is debilitating.
In the meantime, our pet cat was bitten by something and over the course of 24 hours she began to have continuous muscle spasms throughout her body and then died. When we perceived she was not feeling well--lethargy--we brought her to the vet. He examined her and found nothing wrong, but took a blood sample. The next morning when I went to look in on her in her bed, she was having mysterious muscle spasms rippling throughout her body. I took her back to the vet. When I walked in he was shocked; he said he expected her to be fine because the blood sample came back normal. Two hours later she died. The vet said he had never seen anything like it and could not explain it. When I brought her in the second time, I did find a marble-sized internal lump under the skin of her belly that had not been there the day before.
In speaking with a spider expert, I was told that I should be looking for a large spider, a hunter, with large fangs. We tore the house apart and collected every specimen, but didn't find any spider like the description, except for a very mysterious looking (skin? whatever a spider sheds) of a large, orange-ish spider. The expert I sent the specimens singled that (carapace?) out and exhorted us to find the live specimen. For a year we have looked and not found it. Until now.
Recently, while I was in the shower unfortunately, my wife was surprised by a very large, very different looking spider running across the floor. Our new cat chased it and the spider turned and raised its fangs in defense. Afraid that it would bite the cat, remembering what happened to our last one, she threw a cardboard box at it and killed it. I found out about the episode when I came out of the shower--if there I would have put a bowl over it to capture it, but such is life. I collected the specimen, still mostly intact, and took closeup pictures of it. I have the spider preserved.
The spider has distinct markings. I have looked through the entire BugGuide database of spiders (about 5,000) and have not found a match. I have also checked the Nearctic Spider database to no avail. I have been to the libary and researched all the books that include spiders but did not find a match.
I wanted to post the picture on the Bug Guide site, but there are strict restrictions at ID Request to NOT post images of mutilated insects.
I don't know how to describe spider technically, but here's an effort: Stretched out to full length the spider would be close to the length of a quarter--not including its legs, which are very long. The cephalothorax is a hairless, burnt orange color with a broad, brighter stripe down its back and thinner stripes that border the cephalothorax. The legs, also a burnt orange are hairless except for a few, small, thick hairs. the fangs are large and appear to curl under to cross at the tips when at repose. The abdomen is brown, and appears hairless, but on close inspection seems to have hairs very close to the body. The abdomen has a thin, very distinct, bright "christmas tree" pattern--thicker near the pedicel and tapering a little down to the bottom of the abdomen. No other markings on the top of the abdomen. The bottom of the abdomen appears to have a simliar marking, although not quite as distinct.
The spider expert said that the initial bite symptoms I described are like nothing he has ever heard of (and people call him all the time from around the country), although the toxin would fall into the neurotoxin category. And now it seems I have a very uncommon spider caught in my home that seems to fit the description. I can email the images to anyone who would like a closer look. This is not a hoax. I have a medical paper trail that leads right back to the bite, including a paper trail for my cat. I have had medical bills totaling over $100,000 in the past two years in an effort to stop the spasms and get some relief from the debilitating stabbing pains--to no avail, yet. It seems chemo is my next best option.
Please help identify this specimen, please.