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More Than 1,000 Deadly Spiders Caught

November 27, 1995

TOKYO (AP) _ More than 1,000 poisonous black widow spiders have been found in Osaka, Japan’s second-largest city, in the last few days.

There have been no reports of injuries, but the government is asking residents to take precautions, said Akira Kitasumi of the Osaka prefectural government’s Environment and Health Bureau.

Warnings have been passed to schools, and handbills urge residents to watch out for favorite spider hangouts like cracks in gravestones and the bottoms of manhole covers, Kitasumi added.

The spiders live mainly in tropical regions around the world, and may have been stowaways on lumber shipments, said Yoshiro Nishikawa, a professor at Otemon University and head of the Japan Spiders Academic Society.

The spider’s bite is venomous, but is only occasionally fatal, usually to children.

The spider, formally known as latrodectus mactans, is black with a reddish hourglass-shaped marking on the lower abdomen. The name derives from the fact that the female may eat the male after mating.

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