Friday, July 11, 2014

Spider Bite

[WARNING: Graphic Content]

Over the past month, my wife has been dealing with an ulcer on her shoulder that was most likely caused by a spider bite (I'm guessing that some type of Sac Spider is to blame). At first, it raised up like a volcano with a base diameter of about 2-3 cm and a height of about 1-2 cm. Then after a couple of days, the center became necrotic (see "June 15" below). She had the part that was entirely necrotic taken out by a doctor, leaving a bit of a hole in the center ("June 17"). She then treated it daily with honey and kept it covered for the next few weeks. During this time, there was a period of a few days where the whole area started to become red and inflamed ("July 1"), so she got on an antifungal (Fluconazole) and two antibiotics (Keflex & Minocycline), which quickly cleared up that particular issue. It is now healing up nicely ("July 4") and we hope it will finish up without any additional complications!

Timeline (all treatments follow doctors' recommendations):
June 12 - noticed painful swelling
June 15 - Keflex treatment begun (for potential general infection)
June 16 - Keflex treatment terminated, Bactrim treatment begun (for potential MRSA infection)
June 17 - necrotic center removed/biopsied, treatment with honey begun
June 19 - Bactrim treatment terminated (no signs of infection from lab tests)
July 1 - Keflex, Minocycline and Fluconozole treatment begun (swelling and redness seen around the area)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sticta sylvatica

I recently had a paper published that talks about the status of the rare species Sticta sylvatica in my part of the world (Hodkinson et al. 2014). The article was actually featured on the cover! Here's the abstract:

"The presence of the foliose cyanolichen Sticta sylvatica in eastern North America has been called into question due to the absence of high-quality, verifiable material and the common misuse of its name. Recently, specimens collected in the Great Smoky Mountains have been verified as having the typical S. sylvatica morphology. Although molecular data remain inconclusive regarding the entity’s genetic distinctiveness from the phenotypically dissimilar S. limbata, we argue that the decline in the abundance of this morphological entity worldwide along with the need for further genetic study make continued conservation efforts imperative."

Sticta sylvatica in the field.

- Brendan



Hodkinson, B. P., J. C. Lendemer, T. McDonald, and R. C. Harris. 2014. The status of Sticta sylvatica, an ‘exceedingly rare’ lichen species, in eastern North America. Evansia 31(1): 17-24.
Download publication (PDF file)
Download journal issue cover (PDF file)


[This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under awards EF-1115086 and DEB-1145511.]