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Necrotic arachnidism: the mythology of a modern plague

Isbister, Geoffrey K. (2004). Necrotic arachnidism: the mythology of a modern plague. The Lancet,364(9433):549-553.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Necrotic arachnidism: the mythology of a modern plague
Author Isbister, Geoffrey K.
Journal Name The Lancet
Publication Date 2004
Volume Number 364
Issue Number 9433
ISSN 0140-6736   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 549
End Page 553
Total Pages 5
Place of Publication England
Publisher Elsevier
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Spiders have influenced cultures throughout the ages and remain creatures that are both intriguing to some and feared by others. Considerable mythology exists about spiders, and fear of spiders is common. In a study of 261 adults, 32% of women and 18% of men reported that spiders made them feel anxious, nervous, or very frightened, and in European studies spiders are one of the four most feared animals.2 Spider phobias are likewise one of the most common simple phobias and in some cases can have a substantial effect on a person's quality of life. However, spiders have affected human beings in more significant ways than simple fear in individuals. Many myths have developed about spiders and the effects of their bites and toxins. An example is the myth that “daddy longlegs” (spiders belonging to the family Pholcidae) are the most venomous spiders, despite no reported bites and the venom never having been studied. Of greater concern is the modern fear of spiders stemming from the belief that many types cause necrotic ulcers and gangrene—the disorder referred to as necrotic arachnidism. Several theories have been proposed as to why spiders have such an influence on individuals and society, and the origin of spider phobia and spider mythology has been studied by some researchers.
Keywords Arachnidism
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Created: Mon, 26 Nov 2007, 15:07:47 CST