Skin injury caused by urticating hair of Tarantula

Chao Kai Hsu, Mark Ming Long Hsu, Rick C. West, Yau I. Chu

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Tarantulas are large hairy spiders that belong to the family Theraphosidae, which are kept as pets mainly by young people. We report an 18-year-old male with the primary complaint of tingling and numbing sensation in his fingertips after contact with a tarantula spider. Potassium hydroxide skin scraping examination of the tiny black spots on the patient's fingertips revealed numerous spicules, about 20 to 40 μm in length. Under microscopic examination, there were similar spicules on the exocuticle of the tarantula's exuvia. The tarantula was identified as Grammostola rosea. After treatment for one week with the topical corticosteroid, the patient's symptoms gradually improved. We report the rare case of skin injury induced by a tarantula and review related articles. In addition, we propose that potassium hydroxide skin scraping examination is a simple and non-invasive diagnostic method for this type of skin irritation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-235
Number of pages4
JournalDermatologica Sinica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Sep 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dermatology

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    Hsu, C. K., Hsu, M. M. L., West, R. C., & Chu, Y. I. (2007). Skin injury caused by urticating hair of Tarantula. Dermatologica Sinica, 25(3), 232-235.