Thrixopelma pruriens

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Peruvian green velvet tarantula
Scientific classification OOjs UI icon edit-ltr.svg
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Mygalomorphae
Family: Theraphosidae
Genus: Thrixopelma
T. pruriens
Binomial name
Thrixopelma pruriens
Schmidt, 1998 [1]

Thrixopelma pruriens, known as the Peruvian green velvet tarantula, [2] is a species of tarantula found in Chile and Perú in South America. [1] [3]

Though docile, this species is rarely kept as a pet in part due to its tendency to fling urticating hairs with minimal provocation. [4]

In 2014, researchers at Yale University identified a toxin called Protoxin-I from the tarantula's venom that shows promise as a new painkiller drug. [5] The toxin reduces activity in an ion channel associated with inflammation and neuropathic pain, making it potentially suitable as a treatment for both normal pain and pathological pain syndromes. [6] [2]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Venom</span> Toxin secreted by an animal

Venom or zootoxin is a type of toxin produced by an animal that is actively delivered through a wound by means of a bite, sting, or similar action. The toxin is delivered through a specially evolved venom apparatus, such as fangs or a stinger, in a process called envenomation. Venom is often distinguished from poison, which is a toxin that is passively delivered by being ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin, and toxungen, which is actively transferred to the external surface of another animal via a physical delivery mechanism.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Batrachotoxin</span> Chemical compound

Batrachotoxin (BTX) is an extremely potent cardio- and neurotoxic steroidal alkaloid found in certain species of beetles, birds, and frogs. The name is from the Greek word βάτραχος, bátrachos, 'frog'. Structurally-related chemical compounds are often referred to collectively as batrachotoxins. In certain frogs, this alkaloid is present mostly on the skin. Such frogs are among those used for poisoning darts. Batrachotoxin binds to and irreversibly opens the sodium channels of nerve cells and prevents them from closing, resulting in paralysis and death. No antidote is known.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Schmidt sting pain index</span> Pain scale for insect stings

The Schmidt sting pain index is a pain scale rating the relative pain caused by different hymenopteran stings. It is mainly the work of Justin O. Schmidt, a former entomologist at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Arizona. Schmidt published a number of works on the subject, and claimed to have been stung by the majority of stinging Hymenoptera.

<i>Mucuna pruriens</i> Species of flowering plant

Mucuna pruriens is a tropical legume native to Africa and tropical Asia and widely naturalized and cultivated. Its English common names include monkey tamarind, velvet bean, Bengal velvet bean, Florida velvet bean, Mauritius velvet bean, Yokohama velvet bean, cowage, cowitch, lacuna bean, and Lyon bean.

<i>Euathlus</i> Genus of spiders

Euathlus is a genus of South American tarantulas that was first described by Anton Ausserer in 1875. These spiders are medium sized and are usually found in high elevations in the Andes. It is a senior synonym of Paraphysa, and was formerly considered a senior synonym of Brachypelma, but this was later rejected.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tarantula</span> Family of spiders

Tarantulas comprise a group of large and often hairy spiders of the family Theraphosidae. As of August 2022, 1,040 species have been identified, with 156 genera. The term "tarantula" is usually used to describe members of the family Theraphosidae, although many other members of the same infraorder (Mygalomorphae) are commonly referred to as "tarantulas" or "false tarantulas". Some of the more common species have become popular in the exotic pet trade. Many New World species kept as pets have setae known as urticating hairs that can cause irritation to the skin, and in extreme cases, cause damage to the eyes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Psalmotoxin</span>

Psalmotoxin (PcTx1) is a spider toxin from the venom of the Trinidad tarantula Psalmopoeus cambridgei. It selectively blocks Acid Sensing Ion Channel 1-a (ASIC1a), which is a proton-gated sodium channel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vanillotoxin</span> Chemical compound

Vanillotoxins are neurotoxins found in the venom of the tarantula Psalmopoeus cambridgei. They act as agonists for the transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 (TRPV1), activating the pain sensory system. VaTx1 and 2 also act as antagonists for the Kv2-type voltage-gated potassium channel (Kv2), inducing paralytic behavior in small animals.

Hanatoxin is a toxin found in the venom of the Grammostola spatulata tarantula. The toxin is mostly known for inhibiting the activation of voltage-gated potassium channels, most specifically Kv4.2 and Kv2.1, by raising its activation threshold.

Huwentoxins (HWTX) are a group of neurotoxic peptides found in the venom of the Chinese bird spider Haplopelma schmidti. The species was formerly known as Haplopelma huwenum, Ornithoctonus huwena and Selenocosmia huwena. While structural similarity can be found among several of these toxins, HWTX as a group possess high functional diversity.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mambalgins</span>

Mambalgins are peptides found in the venom of the black mamba, an elapid snake. Mambalgins are members of the three-finger toxin (3FTx) protein family and have the characteristic three-finger protein fold. First reported by French researchers in 2012, mambalgins are unusual members of the 3FTx family in that they have the in vivo effect of causing analgesia without apparent toxicity. Their mechanism of action is potent inhibition of acid-sensing ion channels.

The pathophysiology of a spider bite is due to the effect of its venom. A spider envenomation occurs whenever a spider injects venom into the skin. Not all spider bites inject venom – a dry bite, and the amount of venom injected can vary based on the type of spider and the circumstances of the encounter. The mechanical injury from a spider bite is not a serious concern for humans. Some spider bites do leave a large enough wound that infection may be a concern. However, it is generally the toxicity of spider venom that poses the most risk to human beings; several spiders are known to have venom that can cause injury to humans in the amounts that a spider will typically inject when biting.

<i>Thrixopelma</i> Genus of spiders

Thrixopelma is a genus of South American tarantulas that was first described by Günter E. W. Schmidt in 1994. They are medium to large tarantulas, usually being 35mm to 60mm in body length.

RhTx is a small peptide toxin from Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans, also called the Chinese red-headed centipede. RhTx binds to the outer pore region of the temperature regulated TRPV1 ion channel, preferably in activated state, causing a downwards shift in the activation threshold temperature, which leads to the immediate onset of heat pain.

GTx1-15 is a toxin from the Chilean tarantula venom that acts as both a voltage-gated calcium channel blocker and a voltage-gated sodium channel blocker.

Protoxin-II, also known as ProTx-II, PT-II or β/ω-TRTX-Tp2a, is a neurotoxin that inhibits certain voltage-gated calcium and voltage-gated sodium channels. This toxin is a 30-residue disulfide-rich peptide that has unusually high affinity and selectivity toward the human Nav1.7. channel.

Protoxin-I, also known as ProTx-I, or Beta/omega-theraphotoxin-Tp1a, is a 35-amino-acid peptide neurotoxin extracted from the venom of the tarantula Thrixopelma pruriens. Protoxin-I belongs to the inhibitory cystine knot (ICK) family of peptide toxins, which have been known to potently inhibit voltage-gated ion channels. Protoxin-I selectively blocks low voltage threshold T-type calcium channels, voltage gated sodium channels and the nociceptor cation channel TRPA1. Due to its unique ability to bind to TRPA1, Protoxin-I has been implicated as a valuable pharmacological reagent with potential applications in clinical contexts with regards to pain and inflammation

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Double-knot toxin</span>

Double-knot toxin (DkTx), also known as Tau-theraphotoxin-Hs1a or Tau-TRTX-Hs1a, is a toxin found in the venom of the Chinese Bird spider, a tarantula species primarily living in the Guangxi province of China. This toxin, characterized by its bivalent structure of two Inhibitor Cysteine Knots (ICK), is thought to induce excruciating and long-lasting pain by activating the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">GsMTx-4</span> Grammostola mechanotoxin 4

Grammostola mechanotoxin #4, also known as M-theraphotoxin-Gr1a (M-TRTX-Gr1a), is a neurotoxin isolated from the venom of the spider Chilean rose tarantula Grammostola spatulate. This amphiphilic peptide, which consists of 35 amino acids, belongs to the inhibitory cysteine knot (ICK) peptide family. It reduces mechanical sensation by inhibiting mechanosensitive channels (MSCs).

Grammostola iheringi also known as the Entre Rios tarantula, it was first described by Keyserling in 1891. They are found in Brazil, and is considered the biggest tarantula in the Grammostola genus.


  1. 1 2 "Taxon details Thrixopelma pruriens Schmidt, 1998". World Spider Catalog. Natural History Museum Bern. Retrieved 2016-04-29.
  2. 1 2 Gui, Junhong; Liu, Boyi; Cao, Guan; Lipchik, Andrew M.; Perez, Minervo; Dekan, Zoltan; Mobli, Mehdi; Daly, Norelle L.; Alewood, Paul F.; Parker, Laurie L.; King, Glenn F.; Zhou, Yufeng; Jordt, Sven-Eric & Nitabach, Michael N. (2014). "A Tarantula-Venom Peptide Antagonizes the TRPA1 Nociceptor Ion Channel by Binding to the S1–S4 Gating Domain". Current Biology. 24 (5): 473–483. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.01.013. PMC   3949122 . PMID   24530065.
  3. Schmidt, G. (2003). Die Vogelspinnen: Eine weltweite Übersicht. Hohenwarsleben: Neue Brehm-Bücherei. p. 191.
  4. "Thrixopelma-puriens-care-sheet". Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  5. Hathaway, Bill (2014-02-13). "YaleNews | Within tarantula venom, new hope for safe and novel painkillers found". Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  6. "The Peruvian Green Velvet Tarantula's Gift". The New York Times . 17 February 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.