Rumor: Is the Two-Striped Telamonia a New Poisonous Spider in the US?

A long-standing urban legend tells a story of a new poisonous spider in the US, which has been found in airplanes - namely under toilet seats. Is this story true?

Sponsored links


It’s not true.

This story is known to have been circulating via email for many years, in varying incarnations, recently making the jump to social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook. There is no evidence that any of these events ever occurred. Further, this spider – which is real – is not considered venomous.

Let’s take a look at the story.

NEW POISONOUS SPIDER IN THE UNITED STATES

A spider bite…please read………… And you thought the brown recluse was bad!

Three women in North Florida, turned up at hospitals over a 5-day period, all with the same symptoms. Fever, chills, and vomiting, followed by muscular collapse, paralysis, and finally, death. There were no outward signs of trauma.

Autopsy results showed toxicity in the blood. These women did not know each other, and seemed to have nothing in common. It was discovered, however, that they had all visited the same Restaurant (Olive Garden) within days of their deaths. The health department descended on the restaurant, shutting it down. The food, water, and air conditioning were all inspected and tested, to no avail.

The big break came when a waitress at the restaurant was rushed to the hospital with similar symptoms. She told doctors that she had been on vacation, and had only went to the restaurant to pick up her check. She did not eat or drink while she was there, but had used the restroom.

That is when one toxicologist, remembering an article he had read, drove out to the restaurant, went into the restroom, and lifted the toilet seat. Under the seat, out of normal view, was a small spider.

The spider was captured and brought back to the lab, where it was determined to be the Two-Striped Telamonia (Telamonia dimidiata), so named because of its reddened flesh color. This spider’s venom is extremely toxic, but can take several days to take effect. They live in cold, dark, damp climates, and toilet rims provide just the right atmosphere.

Several days later a lawyer from Jacksonville showed up at a hospital emergency room. Before his death, he told the doctor, that he had been away on business, had taken a flight from Indonesia, changing planes in Singapore, before returning home.
He did not visit (Olive Garden), while there. He did, as did all of the other victims, have what was determined to be a puncture wound, on his right buttock.

This image is being circulated with the story in April 2013.

This image is being circulated with the story in April 2013.

Investigators discovered that the flight he was on had originated in India.

The Civilian Aeronautics Board (CAB) ordered an immediate inspection of the toilets of all flights from India, and discovered the Two-Striped Telamonia (Telamonia dimidiata) spider’s nests on 4 different planes! It is now believed that these spiders can be anywhere in the country. So please, before you use a public toilet, lift the seat to check for spiders. It can save your life!

And please pass this on to everyone you care about.

Two-Striped Telamonia

The Two-Striped Telamonia is more commonly called the Two-Striped Jumper, or Telamonia dimidiata. It can be found in the rain forests and tropical environments of Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bhutan. And, as stated earlier, it is not considered poisonous.

Over 10 years ago University of California, Riverside professors sought to debunk the story, having contacted the person who created it years earlier. They wrote that the man did it:

…to show that 1) people are gullible, 2) that the internet is a frighteningly fast way to spread misinformation, 3) that people forward on information without checking the veracity of the information. 

Sponsored Links


They also point out that the urban legend started around 1999 and originally included completely bogus information. The story evolved by 2003 to name a real spider in the narrative, Telamonia dimidiata.

The professors conclude that “there is no reason to suspect (the spider) is dangerous.”

In May 2013, the story resurfaced, and Jacksonville’s WJCT posted an article debunking the rumor. It was pointed out that the spider is neither deadly, nor in Florida, as the rumor suggests. WJCT also noted that the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said there had been no reports of any incidents involving deadly spiders on toilets.

In May 2014, the “two-striped telamonia” hoax saw yet another surge in social media sharing. The picture and narrative above were circulated, virtually unchanged.

Bottom Line

The Two-Striped Telamonia is not considered poisonous, and there is no evidence that the narratives which have circulated for 15 years ever happened.

Sponsored links




  • James Richter

    Despicable to have this HOAX widely Distributed

  • jorge hernandez

    in colombia they are a tasty treat in the jungles….

  • Sam K

    Oh lordy……….. a huuuge heartfelt thanks to whomever runs this website! I read this on FB and was about to become self-conscious every time I go to the restroom, be it my house or outdoors. Some girl also commented who’d read about this hoax before.

    • waffles

      You’re welcome! And thanks for stopping by!

  • Melinda Fultz

    Oh thank god I’m absolutely terrified of spiders and when I read this on Facebook I became extremely paranoid. I was so scared but I no longer have reason to worry!!!!

  • Jessica

    I just read about this on Facebook and got a huge bump on my butt I’m freaking what do I do I’m losing so much sleep over it I’m scared to die as it is

  • lisa

    Oh thank god this story wasn’t true. I’m terrified of spiders and was loosing sleep over this and every time i went to the bathroom i thought of this….. Thank you so much for letting us know its not true. Lisa m.

  • Rhonda

    Omg!! What a relief. Every time me or my baby girl went to the restroom I would lift the toilet lid to check. I was so paranoid for my family especially my son given that he’s in college in Florida and rides planes often.. Thanks so much!! Now I can relax lol!!!!

  • Heinrich

    Crazy i tell you… We received the exact mail today, with only difference being, it was not US, it is SA, a local province…. i mean really? change the name of the country but nothing else?

    Totally insane…

    Whatever keeps the heart young i suppose…

  • linda

    are u positive its a hoax? i was at walmart to find window blinds and my sis knocked a spider off my shoulder and it had 2 blue stripes on its back and i’m panicked! please assure me.

  • Angella Faith

    So I’m major hypochondriac and I have a bump on my leg close to my butt and now I’m freaking out.

  • alexis belcher

    Wow is it real its all over Facebook ,enternet, everything!

  • waffles

    You’re welcome, and thanks for stopping by!