New Aquitaine: European black widow discovered for the first time in the region


SPIDER This venomous Mediterranean species was found for the first time in New Aquitaine on October 27, near Cap-Ferret

The black widow Latrodectus tredecimguttatus was discovered on the side of Cap- Aglet. — Hervé Thomas

  • An entomologist from the Linnean Society of Bordeaux made the first observation of a European black widow in New Aquitaine at the end of October near Cap-Ferret.
  • The European black widow is a Mediterranean species that has only been observed twice, in the 19th century, on the Atlantic coast.
  • Although it is also very venomous, the European black widow should not be confused with the European black widow from America or Australia, much more dangerous.

They were crouched under the collar of the dune plants, out of sight. On October 27, Christian Géry, amateur entomologist from the Linnaean of Bordeaux, made a resounding discovery, even if he did not know it at the time. He fell on Latrodectus tredecimguttatus, commonly called European black widow, or malmignatte. This poisonous spider had never been observed so far in New Aquitaine.

The females were installed under the leaves, with their cocoons. “It’s been a total coincidence, Christian Géry told AFP. 20 Minutes. It’s looking for beetles, which are my specialty, in the gray dune on the side of the hill. of Cap-Ferret (Gironde), that I fell on these spider cocoons that I did not know. I immediately sent a photo to a colleague for more information.”

The colleague, Hervé Thomas, another member of the company Linnean, “immediately recognized the malmignatte” when he saw the photo. It must be said that the little beast with its big black body and its red spots, is easily recognizable for specialists. “Besides, she’s famous, there are a lot of legends around the black widow spider, because she’s a very venomous spider, especially to humans” ;” says Hervé Thomas.

Global warming not necessarily in question

In France, the European black widow spider is not unknown, since it is found in Corsica and in the Mediterranean arc. “On the Atlantic coast, she had been reported to the end of the 19th century, in 1877 and 1881 in Vendée and in Morbihan, but it was never found since, continues Hervé Thomas. For my part, I have been collaborating since 2006 with the ONF to carry out surveys on the dunes and beaches, I do a lot of prospecting between the Vendée and the Landes, and I had never seen it.&nbsp ;”

Its presence on the side of of Cap-Ferret, could it be the consequence of global warming? “Without these old mentions in Vendée and Morbihan, one would be tempted to to say yes, since it’s a Mediterranean species. We have examples of arachnid ascents to the favor of global warming is the case of a very large spider, the lobed argiope, which arrived in New Aquitaine a few years ago. In the case of the black widow, the climatic explanation is not completely ruled out, but there are other possible hypotheses, and one of the most likely is that it always has more or less existed in the dune environment, but as it is a very discreet species, it has remained unnoticed so far.”

“There is no don’t fantasize about this spider”

As for the question that everyone is asking, àgrave; Knowing whether to worry, the specialists assure you not. But the venomous reputation of the black widow spider, whose female tends to devour the male after mating, usually before it. “You should not fantasize about this spider, and there is no reason to panic, insists Hervé Thomas. The black widow spider has no aggression. and does not seek to to bite. In addition, it is found on the part of the dune which is very inaccessible, these environments being increasingly protected.” We can continue, at a priori, bask in the pill quietly on the beaches of Cap-Ferret in summer; next…

“There is a scientific issue behind this discovery, but no repercussions in society;” as can the emergence of the tiger mosquito and the Asian hornet” adds Christian Géry.

Besides, Latrodectus tredecimguttatus should not be confused with Latrodectus mactans, “ ber of black widows, which is the american version” specifies Hervé Thomas, or Latrodectus hasselti, the Australian version.“The venom of the black widow spider from America or Australia is much more toxic, we even have fatal cases in humans, this is absolutely not the case for its cousin from Australia’ Europe, where the envenomation is much less serious.”

The fear of attracting “ill-intentioned terrariophiles”

On the other hand, the entomologists deliberately remain discreet as to the precise location of their discovery. “We gave an indication, on the side du Crohot noir, which is not quite exact fact, admits Hervé Thomas. It’s voluntary, to prevent ill-intentioned terrariophiles from disembarking to look for the creature. We do not want the station to be destroyed.”

The company” linnéenne of Bordeaux, which is a company of amateur scientists founded in 1818, will soon publish a scientific bulletin


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