Atrax versuta Rainbow
A member of the genus Hadronyche, the Blue Mountains funnelweb was first described in 1914, by William Joseph Rainbow in the genus Atrax, having been collected from the vicinity of the Jenolan Caves. The species name is derived from the Latin versutus "clever/cunning".
The Blue Mountains funnel-web has a similar coloration to most other funnel-webs, namely a shiny black carapace and black to dark brown legs and chelicerae. The abdomen of the male has a pale dorsal patch, and that of the female is maroon-brown. The carapace in the male is slightly longer than wide and is roughly square in the female.
Distribution and habitat
The Blue Mountains funnelweb is found in eastern Australia from Blue Mountains to the Illawarra district in New South Wales. Its burrows are found in stumps and rotten logs.
One out of nine recorded cases of being bitten by a Blue Mountains funnel-web spider has resulted in severe symptoms of envenomation. The bite can be successfully treated with the antivenom for the related Sydney funnel-web (Atrax robustus). Symptoms of envenomation can occur within 15–20 minutes. Applying pressure bandage similar to snake bite treatment can significantly delay the onset of symptoms and remains a critical part of management of a spider bite. Despite the venom lacking the atraxotoxin or atraxin of A. robustus, the symptoms are very similar to those from a Sydney funnel-web bite. Features of envenomation include diaphoresis, local pain at bite site, pulmonary oedema, hypertension, nausea and vomiting.
Females are suspected of being more venomous than males, possibly because they inject larger amounts of venom. Versutoxin, a neurotoxin very similar to robustoxin produced by the Sydney funnel-web, induces an autonomic storm in the victim.
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