Customs officers in Nantong City, Jiangsu Province, seize toxic brown widow spiders on a Hong Kong-listed vessel. (Photo / Nantong Customs)
(ECNS) - Customs officers in Nantong City, Jiangsu Province, have removed more than 100 highly toxic brown widow spiders from a Hong Kong-listed vessel.
Authorities completed quarantine and disinfestation treatment after finding the spiders including females, males and egg sacs on the ship undergoing annual repair in the city along the Yangtze River.
Customs officers said there is a great risk of its spread and reproduction if the species is introduced into China. The crew and shipyard maintenance personnel were made aware of biological security, the living habits and characteristics of the neurotoxic spiders, as well as first aid measures.
The brown widow spider is mainly distributed in tropical regions across Africa. As a 'cousin' to the more infamous Latrodectus mactans (black widow), it can also release neurotoxic venom. Once bitten, victims will experience severe pain in the muscles and even the nervous system. In severe cases, fatalities occur within hours.