Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 33, 1900
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4. “On the Bite of the Katipo,”

Sir James Hector said this was the second recorded case from the same locality. The first case was that of a local police constable, who succumbed to the poison. He understood that, as in cases of snake-bite, prompt application of ammonia had been found to have a powerful effects. The katipo was abundant on beaches and sandhills, infesting driftwood, old bones, &c. The thanks of the society were due to Dr. Fyffe for taking up the subject.

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Mr. Travers said that, common as the spider was, cases of its bite were rare. He had only met with one instance. This was at Massacre Bay, where a man was bitten in the thigh. No skilled assistance was available. Though the results were very serious for a time, the man recovered.

Mr. Mestayer said there was a New South Wales spider much resembling the katipo, though the red mark was differently situated. Its bite was said to be fatal. The Curator of the Museum, who had live specimens in confinement, allowed them to run over his hand, but could not allow them to do it long, as, though they did not bite, their mere contact with the skin caused a numbness of the nerves.

Sir James Hector said the same thing had been observed of the katipo.

Dr. Fyffe said the knee-jerks and reflexions of the arm showed the specific effect of the poison on the nerve extremities, producing peripheral neuritis, and the numbness referred to was a confirmation. Ammonia, unless applied at once, he thought, would be of little or no use. At one time strychnine had great repute as an antidote to snake-bite, but, as a matter of fact, it had no such property. Its use in such cases was simply its ordinary use in medicine—to keep up the action of the heart.

5. “Notes on Salmonidæ in New Zealand,” by A. J. Rutherfurd, President of the Wellington Acclimatisation Society. (Transactions, p. 240.)