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"Black Widow" Spider

Volume 209: debated on Thursday 28 July 1927

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asked the Minister of Health whether the attention of the officers of his Department has been drawn to a small black spider, known to entomologists as Latrodectus mactans, and commonly called the Black Widow or Shoebutton, which has been introduced from Oriental ports into North America concealed in fruit and lumber, and has caused over 20 deaths during the last month; and whether any precautions are being taken by his Department to prevent specimens of these insects being brought into Great Britain?

As regards the first part of the question, the spider known as Black Widow is indigenous in North America. I am not aware of any authentic case of fatal results ensuing from its bite. As regards the second part, I am advised that there is no record of the Black Widow ever having been introduced into Great Britain. There appears therefore to be no need for special precautions against its appearance.