Sicarius Spider: The Assassin

Rarely encountered by humans, which is good considering the venom is the most potent spider venom in the world, even more than the Phoneutria (wandering spiders) or Atrax robusta (Sydney funnel web spider).

Native to South America and Africa is a genus of recluse spider known as Sicarius. They live in deserts and are known for their self-burying behavior. They can grow up to 1 to 2 inches in length and have 6 eyes. Yes, I said six eyes. They can live long periods of time without food or water.

The word ‘Sicarius’ comes from the Latin meaning ‘Assassin’. Their venom carries an agent that induces skin necrosis[1]. It is also called the ‘sand spider’, ‘six-eyed spider’, or ‘killer spider’. All Sicarius spiders are carnivorous, eating cockroaches, ants, crickets, scorpions, and other spiders.

Drop for drop, some Sicarius spiders are thought to have some of the most potent venoms out there, perhaps even more destructive than that of the recluse family. They don’t actively seek a fight, nor do they roam or build a web looking for food. They strike from ambush, burying themselves in sand or dry soil before patiently waiting for prey.

Sicarius spiders have six eyes arranged into three groups of two, known as “dyads”. Sand particles adhere to cuticles on its abdomen, thus acting as a natural camouflage if uncovered. If disturbed, it will run a short distance and bury itself again. The six-eyed spider has a poor sense of direction, unlike other species of spiders.

They reproduce by eggs laid in silk bundles called egg sacs. The male must get close enough to inseminate the female without triggering a predatory response. After the deed, the male must make haste to not be devoured by the female.

  1. When blood and oxygen are limited to a specific area of the body, the tissue often dies. Known as necrosis, tissue death can occur from an injury, trauma, radiation treatment, or toxin and chemical exposure. After necrosis occurs, DNA structure damage occurs within the cells, preventing mitosis–the process of healthy and normal cell duplication.


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Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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