E-mail hoax: Telamonia dimidiata spiders are not deadly

Just received an email from a good friend of mine warning me about the supposedly deadly Telamonia dimidiata spider.

The hoax, meaning this story is not true goes like this:

PLEASE READ, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT

Three women in North Florida turned up at hospitals over a 5-day period,
all with the same symptoms. Fever, chills, and vomiting,
followed by muscular collapse, paralysis and finally, death. There were no
outward
signs of trauma.

Autopsy results showed toxicity in the blood. These women did not know
each other and seemed to have nothing in common. It was discovered,
however, that they had all visited the same Restaurant (Olive Garden)
within days of their deaths. The Health Department descended on the
restaurant , shutting it down.
The food, water, and air conditioning were all inspected and tested, to no
avail.

The big break came when a waitress at the restaurant was rushed to the
hospital with similar symptoms. She told doctor that she had been on
vacation, and had only went to the restaurant to pick up her check.

She did not eat or drink while she was there, but had used the restroom.

That is when one toxicologist, remembering an article he had read, drove
out to the restaurant, went into the restroom and lifted the toilet seat .

Under the seat, out of normal view, was a small spider. The spider was
captured and brought back to the lab, where it was determined to be the
Two-Striped Telamonia (Telamonia dimidiata), so named because of its
reddened flesh color; This spider’s venom is extremely toxic, but can take
several days to take effect. They live in cold, dark, damp climates, and
toilet rooms provide just the right atmosphere.

Several days later a lawyer from Jacksonville showed up at a hospital
emergency room. Before his death, he told the doctor, that he had been
away on business, had taken a flight from Indonesia ,changing planes in
Singapore , before
returning home. He did NOT visit (Olive Garden) while there. He did (as
did all of the other victims)have what was determined to be a puncture
wound, on his right buttock. Investigators discovered that the flight he
was on had originated in India ..

The Civilian Aeronautics Board (CAB) ordered an immediate inspection of
the toilets of all flights from India and discovered the Two-Striped
Telamonia (Telamonia dimidiata) spider’s nests on
4 different planes!

It is now believed that these spiders can be anywhere in the country.

So please, before you use a public toilet, lift the seat to check for
spiders. It can save your life!

Do not be afraid or worried because the story is not true. It’s a hoax, an urban legend that goes around the internet via email.

Here are the facts according to Wikipedia and Snopes.com:

In 2002 , the spider became the subject of an email hoax claiming that it was a fatal spider found lurking under toilet seats in North Florida. This hoax was a rehashing of an older email circulated in 1999 with similar claims, except under the name “South American Blush Spider (arachnius gluteus[sic])” – literally “butt spider”. It has also been found that similar email hoaxes(details of original changed here and there) has been found in other parts of the world claiming that the same thing happened in that country. No such events ever occurred.

The Telemonia dimidata or the two-striped telamonia is a true (see pictures here), living species of spider found in Singapore, India, Bhutan, and Indonesia. However, it’s venom is not toxic to humans. Bites from this spider are very, very rare.

Though this stories are a good read and could pass off as a good idea for a movie or novel, but let us be careful before believing anything we read in our email. It never hurts to be doubtful at times.

Lastly, read and do some research first before you forward any stories or warnings you receive via email, it will stop the spread of false information and lessen the useless emails that crowd your friends’ or contacts’ inbox.

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7 thoughts on “E-mail hoax: Telamonia dimidiata spiders are not deadly

  1. omg! i recieved that email like 3 years ago and have been checking the toilet seat very often! LOL im glad i saw some nasty spider yesterday to remind me of this one! now i can relax lol

  2. I have received the same email translated to Arabic with the same details yesterday (Feb 24th 2009) but the people doining this scam changed places to make it believable to Jordanian citizens, it mentioned that the incident happened in a restaurant in Jordan,and that the flight was domestic.

    Thank you for spreading the truth. I will send this to all my friends.

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