Dancing with wolf spiders | For information

Published October 13, the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet report is damning. Between 1970 and 2018, the size of the wild vertebrate population decreased by an average of 69%. Among the biggest declines, African forest elephant populations fell by more than 86%, lowland gorillas by 80%, and rays and sharks by 71%. Undoubtedly, there are fewer and fewer wild animals on Earth. This drop can be heard! In fifty years, 50% of life’s sounds have disappeared. To inform this, and more broadly to contribute to raising awareness of the need to preserve life, the Philharmonie de Paris presents the exhibition “Musicanimale”, created in partnership with the National Museum of Natural History. The idea? Nearly two hundred works of art, creations, and objects of popular culture, from the oldest to the most contemporary, invite the public to lend their ears to wildlife.

The course is based on the letters of the alphabet. We start from A for “calls,” to Z for “zoomorph,” through C for “Song of the whales,” K for ecologist Knud Viktor, and P for Papageno for magic flute…and the T of “recovery,” which will get us busy here. What is it about?

The ritual, which is documented from the Middle Ages, was taking place in southern Italy, especially in the Apulia region, at least until the 1960s. Pizza) and frantic music ( Tarantella is an Italian folk dance). The aim was curative: to cure the poisoning caused by the bite of a lycusa from Taranto, licosa tarantula, a spider of the family Lycosidae, or wolf spiders, found throughout the Mediterranean. Its poison was supposed to plunge victims into a deep slumber leading to death without exercise Pizza. The whole village participated in this kind of exorcism that lasted for hours and even days.

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Ernesto De Martino, of the University of Cagliari, accompanied by several photographers, some of whom are on display at the Philharmonie, conducted a field survey in 1959 in the Salento region to study the latest resurgence of tarantulas. According to him, the tarantula who was bitten becomes, during the dance, the spider that bit him, and at the same time tramples and crushes him. »

And the spider in all of this? Its large size (several centimeters) may scare away, but this is out of the question. Its sting is certainly painful, but by no means dangerous, and its venom causes no symptoms associated with a tarantula. Suspicion should fall on the black widow or Mediterranean black widow Latrodectus tredecimguttatus. This spider, much smaller (its size is only a few millimeters), produces fifteen times more poison than the rattlesnake, which contains alpha latrotoxin. By destroying the synaptic vesicles, this substance causes many symptoms that are collected under the name “Latrodectism”: sweating and cold sweat, muscle spasms in the chest, abdomen and face, intense anxiety, fear of death, hallucinations, myocarditis, edema … Despite this clinical picture, fatal cases remain rare. Should tarantasm be called “malignant”?

In any case, the lycozoans and the black widow belong to this biodiversity that the Philharmonie de Paris uses to music by drawing on an interdisciplinarity: ancient and contemporary art, the environment, and the natural sciences drive the dance!

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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