(Lactrodectus tredecimguttatus), a poisonous spider. The males and sexually immature females are predominantly black with white-bordered red spots on the abdomen. Maximum length, 2 cm. The karakurt is found in North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Southern Europe. In the USSR it inhabits the southern Ukraine, the deserts and piedmonts of Middle Asia, and the steppe belt from Moldavia to the Enisei.
Feeding primarily on insects, the karakurt does not bite animals or humans unless it is provoked. The bites of the female are highly poisonous. They cause an acute local reaction (gangrene) and, at times, severe poisoning resulting in death. Initially, the victim experiences sharp pain around the area of the bite. The pain gradually spreads throughout the entire body. The victim becomes restless and breaks out in a cold sweat. Other symptoms are cyanosis of the skin, chills, difficulty in breathing, paresis, and coma.
Treatment includes the subcutaneous or intravenous administering of karakurt antitoxin (30–70 ml), as well as the intravenous infusion of painkillers (novocaine, promedol, and camphor), heart medicines (strophanthin), and 10 ml of a 10 percent solution of magnesium sulfate.
It is recommended that sheep graze in pastures where kara-kurts might be encountered. They are least sensitive to the bite.After the sheep trample the spiders, camels, horses, and cattlecan graze in the pasture.
E. N. PAVLOVSKII