Living With Arthropod Venom


Centipede, Scolopendra subspinipes
Photo: Scott Stockwell

Many people receive bites and stings from venomous arthropods every year. These events are rarely lethal. Anaphylactic response to the venom is a factor in most all cases of mortality. People in the US are most afraid of spiders, particularly the Black Widow and Brown Recluse. Between 6-7 people per year die from spider bites in the US every year. Bees and wasps pose a greater risk:  Between 50 and 60 people die from bee and wasp stings.

Centipedes can deliver a painful bite with their first pair of legs, but mortality is seldom reported. Encounters with centipedes often end with the centipede scurrying away as fast as it can. Centipedes do not defend territory. They are mobile predators and their primary defense is escape. Thus people are unlikely to be injected with the venom of a centipede. People who are envenomated by centipedes typically have local swelling in the area of the bite. It is rare for centipede venoms to produce systemic effects.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Environment, Health. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Living With Arthropod Venom

  1. Pingback: Living With Arthropod Venom – Entomo Planet

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