Friday, October 06, 2006

Brown Is The New Black

Yahoo! News is reporting that the brown widow spider (Latrodectus geometricus) has become established in the state of Mississippi. As the "widow" in its name suggests, it is poisonous, though it tends to be less aggressive than its cousin, the black widow. While the brown widow is considered non-native in the U.S., and is cited as having been introduced via Florida, it is considered as having a world-wide range in the tropics. Over the past several years, it has been increasing its range from coastal Florida into Mississippi, Alabama and even Texas. No one is quite sure what is driving this range expansion, but it is thought that the spiders use cars, trucks and other vehicles to move around. (Ooo, "driving" - nice unintentional pun!)

Thanks to biosparite for sending in a link to the story. Bonus points to the AP for putting the scientific name of the spider in the article (and in the top paragraph too!).

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