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Are Zigzag Spiders Poisonous?

By Cindy Quarters

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The “zigzag spider” is a nickname for the black-and-yellow argiope spider, a type of orb weaver named for the peculiar webs it spins. In the case of the argiope spider, the female makes the classic round web, and her mate makes a heavy, zigzag-patterned web in the outer portion of hers. These spiders depend on their webs to catch prey such as mosquitoes, flies, gnats and ants.

Venom

Once the web has snared a bug, the zigzag spider runs to it and injects venom into it to paralyze the prey and to liquify its insides so the spider will be able to make a meal of it. Although this venom is deadly to the spider’s tiny victims, it is relatively harmless to people -- of concern only to the very young, the very old or those allergic to it. In most cases a bite from a zigzag spider is similar to that of a bee sting and does no lasting damage.

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