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Medical Term:


Pronunciation: lat'ro-dek'tus


A genus of relatively small spiders, the widow spiders, capable of inflicting highly poisonous, neurotoxic, painful bites; they are responsible, along with Loxosceles species (the brown spiders), for most of the severe reactions from spider envenomation. Medically important species are known from Australia, North and South America, South Africa, and New Zealand. Some venomous species, in addition to Latrodectus mactans (the black widow spider), are Latrodectus bishopi (the red-legged widow spider), Latrodectus euracaviensis, Latrodectus geometricus, and Latrodectus tredecimguttatus.

[L. latro, servant, robber, + G. dektes, a biter]

© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.