Spider Pharm specializes in the production of spider and other arthropod venoms for use in research, with the goal to make more high quality venoms affordable and accessible in quantities necessary to support exploration as well as more intensive research.
Spider Pharm does have exotics, though we usually prefer to work with species that we have collected ourselves or have obtained from reliable collectors. These animals have come from know locations (more reproducibility). We get a chance to learn more about their natural history, behavior and seasons and we can get more from the same populations if necessary.
Most of our collecting is local, within a few hundred miles of Yarnell, which gives us ready access to a large variety of spiders, scorpions and centipedes. Additional species and exotics are obtained from other collectors, breeders, dealers and importers.
In-house breeding can reduce dependence and the affects of collecting on wild populations. In many cases, it is the best way to insure the supply of adequate quantities of venom for research and discovery before alternate methods are available for producing individual toxins of interest.
We pay a lot of attention to nutrition and the development of methods and equipment for breeding arthropods in captivity. For instance, what we feed feeder flies frequently translates into dramatic improvements in growth rates, survivability and venom yields and appropriate containers enables us to feed, sort and, hopefully, humanely care for enormous numbers of spiders in relatively little time or disturbance to the spiders.
Numbers vary with season and priority, but we are usually have something on the order or 50,000 thousand spiders, centipedes and scorpions, including several dozen to more than a one hundred different species.
Milking and Other Preps
Most venoms are produced by ‘milking’ though we also provide dissected venom glands and other preparations on request.
Our procedures for milking spiders were initially developed in the early 1980’s, with the addition of several improvements and modifications over the years. They give us the ability to milk large number of very small to very large spiders rapidly, while avoiding or reducing the chance of contamination from regurgitate, hemolymph and other materials.