Indian village taken over by spiders

June 4, 2012 at 4:39 PM

SADIYA, India, June 4 (UPI) -- A swarm of an unidentified type of spider has taken over an Indian town and is suspected of killing two residents, officials say.

The spiders showed up in Chaulkhowa Nagaon village May 8, The Times of India reported Sunday.

Since then, the nearby Sadiya Civil Hospital has been inundated with patients suffering from spider bites.

Two people have died so far but autopsies were not performed so it is unclear whether they died from the spiders' venom or an allergic reaction to the venom, officials said.

Scientists are now trying to identify the species of spider and figure out how to get it to leave the village.

"As of now, we cannot give a specific name. It's similar to the tarantula, but it could be a whole new species. There aren't any arachnologists in the northeast, so it will take us a while to identify it. But whatever the species, it is a highly aggressive spider. It leaps at anything that comes close. Some of the victims claimed the spider latched onto them after biting. If that is so, it needs to be dealt with carefully. The chelicerae and fangs of this critter are quite powerful; but it's too early to declare it a killer spider. In fact, we are yet to test its venom and find out the toxicity," said Dr. L. R. Saikia, head of the Department of Life Sciences at Dibrugarh University.

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