Fraudulent Widow Spiders that bite people as they sleep are becoming more common.

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Fraudulent Widow Spiders that bite people as they sleep are becoming more common.

False Widow spiders have been a topic of debate among scientists for years: based on their name, one may suppose they’re the less dangerous cousins of the dreaded Black Widow. A new study from the National University of Ireland Galway has revealed not only that the population of these arachnids is on the rise, but also that a False Widow’s bite can be so severe that it necessitates hospitalization.

The Noble False Widow, or Steatoda nobilis, was first discovered in Madeira and the Canary Islands, according to Science Daily, and was first published in Clinical Toxicology earlier this week. It was initially discovered in Britain almost 140 years ago, in the 19th century; however, the species’ recent population explosion means it is on its way to becoming “one of the world’s most invasive spider species.”

The False Widow already reigns supreme in some parts of the world: according to the study, the species has “become one of the most abundant species of spiders found in and around urban habitats” in various parts of Britain and Ireland.

Experts believe that “a new genetic mutation within the species may have rendered Noble False Widows more adaptive to new environments,” yet they aren’t clear what is causing the population growth. They also blame the move on “an ever-increasing globalized economy,” adding that spiders have spread over the world via “containers and crates.” The species can now be found in portions of Europe, North Africa, West Asia, and North and South America.

The fact that these spiders have moved into “urban settings” is perhaps most worrying, according to Science Daily. And, as their numbers increase in densely populated places, so does the number of persons reporting bites, which can cause symptoms that range from uncomfortable to alarming.

A False Widow bite can cause “moderate to terrible pain and mild to intense edema,” as well as “tremors, lowered or increased blood pressure, nausea, and restricted mobility,” according to Science Daily. “In rare occasions, victims have acquired small wounds at the bite site or required treatment for severe bacterial infections,” they noted.

These spiders appear to be tough after they’ve made their way into a new region. This is a condensed version of the information.

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