Here we go again. Was the spider that was found in Tulsa a deadly Brazilian Wandering or “Banana” Spider or was it a fairly innocuous Huntsman Spider?
If you read my work on any regular basis you know that yesterday I wrote an article on Associated Content about a spider that was found in a Tulsa grocery store and turned over to a college official who killed it rather than take it to another university for study. I said then he would come under criticism after all, our society is big on the rights of creatures.
I was right. The issue is being “looked into” as the Associated Press’ article “Not so deadly? Chance Tulsa spider misidentified” reports to us.
Here’s what happened in fast forward:
A spider was found in a grocery store and turned over to Terry Childs of the University of Tulsa. He is the animal facilities manager. He felt he had identified it as a deadly banana spider. He was urged by another university official to kill it and his own conscience urged him to for safety’s sake. He killed it.
In the meantime Barry Downer who is the curator of the aquariums and herpetology at the Tulsa Zoo didn’t have enough to do so he studied film of the spider and came to the conclusion it was a huntsman spider which is not dangerous. He agreed with Richard Grantham who is the director of plant disease and insect diagnostics that no matter what the spider was it should have been preserved for study.
Downer and Grantham disputed Childs characterization of the spider’s venom. They said even if it was a banana spider its bite would not be that deadly.
The University of Tulsa has been shamed into trying to assess how and why the spider was killed.
A couple of observations:
Over the last hundred years there have been many spiders and other assorted “critters” found and killed because the person had a job to do; they were concerned about what they had found or they were just mean. The only reason we know about this is because our society is made up of information junkies who have the capability of voyeuristic behaviors due to the internet.
Further, we are spending time worrying about the rights of a spider when our economy is collapsing.
However what really gets me angry is that through this entire story not one participant or reporter seems to care how such a spider got into our food supply. And frankly, a person could have been bitten who had an allergy to the venom and killed. That’s what we should be studying.
As far as I’m concerned, I am more interested in how that spider got in the store than why Childs killed it.