BANGKOK – Doctoral student Narin Chompupang announced at a media conference at the Chulalongkorn University faculty of science in Bangkok on Wednesday that a deadly Mediterranean recluse spiders has been found for the first time in Thailand in a cave in Kanchanaburi.
Mr Narin, a doctoral biology student, came across them during a survey of the cave at the site of the royally sponsored Plant Genetic Conservation Project on Khao Wang Khamen mountain in Sai Yok district of Kanchanaburi province.
The Mediterranean recluse spider is either yellow or brown, and about seven millimeters long. The spider’s toxic venom eats into any flesh it comes into contact with, leading to nasty and painful lesions that can take several months to heal.
It is regarded as among the most venomous spiders in the world and is now found in many countries including Australia, China, many European nations, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan and the United States, Mr Narin said.
He found the spiders in only one cave. He speculated they had arrived during World War II, hidden in railway materials brought from Japan, because that cave had been used for storage during construction of the Death Railway.
He estimated there were about 500 Mediterranean recluse spiders in the colony in the unidentified cave.
Natthapoj Warit, a biology lecturer, said a bite from the highly poisonous spider looked like a mosquito or ant bite. Unless it was treated by a doctor, the wound could become infected in a few days. In some cases overseas it had proved fatal for people who were not treated.
The Mediterranean recluse spider is the third species of extremely poisonous spiders found in Thailand, along with two kinds of widow spiders, Mr Narin said.