Several cases of arachnidism, a clinical syndrome due to the bite of the "black widow" spider, the Latrodectus mactans, seen recently at the University of Virginia Hospital presented abdominal symptoms of great severity. If the true condition had not been recognized, exploration of the abdomen for an acute surgical abdominal emergency might have been readily undertaken. The ease with which this confusion might occur—witness the reports of several such patients subjected to operation elsewhere—and the apparent lack of consideration given the subject in the surgical literature suggested this résumé of arachnidism with particular reference to its abdominal manifestations.
The first case af arachnidism that came to my attention, case 1 of the series reported herewith, was not seen until the symptoms had commenced to subside, and the diagnosis was not made until several weeks after the patient had been discharged from the hospital. The diagnosis was made at that time