Scary Spider Might Cure Erectile Dysfunction
Weird Wildlife Wednesday: Halloween Edition continues with a terrifying spider with venom so powerful it can kill you… or possibly cure erectile dysfunction.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Brazilian wandering spider is the most venomous of any known spider in the world. Only .006 mg of the neurotoxic venom in the bite of this spider will kill a mouse (the Southern black widow requires .110 mg).
Worse, these spiders are quite aggressive. They bite furiously when disturbed and can be as large as 17cm across (including legs).
It should be noted that danger to humans extends beyond toxicity; capacity for venom delivery being the largest variable as spiders developed to bite small prey and are less suited for attacking large animals. The true danger of this spider is unknown as a result of bites possibly being confused for related but less or non-poisonous species.
In addition to death, a bite from this spider contains another, more interesting, symptom: that of a painful and long-lasting erection. This symptom is called priapism, and the erections can permanently damage the penis.
Naturally, researchers thought that this was great, and a team of Brazilian and American scientists published a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine after injecting the toxin, called PnTx2-6, into rats with age-related erectile dysfunction. The researchers found that the toxin triggered the release of nitric oxide, boosting circulation in the genitals, helping blood vessel walls relax, and thereby boosting erections.
The part surprised me the most here is that rats suffer from age-related erectile dysfunction. Can someone please Photoshop me a rat version of one of those Cialis commercials with the people in the bathtub?
If it weren’t enough that you could get botulism injected into your face, scientists might someday make it possible for you to ingest spider venom to improve your sex life.