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The Brazilian wandering spiders, or banana spiders (not to be confused with the relatively harmless species of the genus Nephila) are a genus of aggressive and highly venomous spiders found in tropical South and Central America. The Brazilian wandering spiders appear in Guinness World Records 2010 as the world's most venomous spider. P. nigriventer is the most venomous species of spider. Its venom contains a potent neurotoxin, known as PhTx3, which acts as a broad-spectrum calcium channel blocker that inhibits glutamate release, calcium uptake and also glutamate uptake in neural synapses. At deadly concentrations, this neurotoxin causes loss of muscle control and breathing problems, resulting in paralysis and eventual asphyxiation. In addition, the venom causes intense pain and inflammation following an attack due to an excitatory effect the venom has on the serotonin 5-HT4 receptors of sensory nerves. This sensory nerve stimulation causes a release of neuropeptides such as substance P which triggers inflammation and pain. Aside from causing intense pain, the venom of the spider can also cause priapism in humans. Erections resulting from the bite are uncomfortable, can last for many hours and can lead to impotence. A component of the venom (Tx2-6) is being studied for use in erectile dysfunction treatments. Spider mouthparts are adapted to envenomate very small prey: They are not well-adapted to attacking large mammals such as humans. A study in March 2009 suggests that Phoneutria inject venom in approximately one-third of their bites, and only a small quantity in one-third of those cases. Research in this area is hindered by the difficulty of identifying particular species. The spider's wandering nature is another reason it is considered so dangerous. In densely populated areas, Phoneutria species usually search for cover and dark places to hide during daytime, leading it to hide within houses, clothes, cars, boots, boxes and log piles, thus generating accidents when people disturb it. Its other common name "banana spider" is attributed, because of its tendency to hide in banana bunches on plantations, and is occasionally found as a stowaway within shipments of bananas. These spiders can also appear in banana crates sent to grocery stores and bulk food centers around the world. One such instance happened with a shipment of bananas arriving at Bridgwater, England, when a man was bitten by a P. fera; however, due to quick medical care he survived, taking nearly a week to recover from the bite following treatment. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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