Spider bite can trigger four-hour long erections

The eight-legged creature, also known as the armed spider, banana spider or Phoneutria nigriventer - is native to South and Central America.

Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia believe the species contains a possible breakthrough for erectile dysfunction, the Journal of Sexual Medicine reports.

Kenia Nunes, a physiologist at the college, said: "The venom of the Phoneutria nigriventer spider is a very rich mixture of several molecules," according to the Daily Mail.

"These molecules are called toxins, and then we have various toxins in this venom with different activity. Because of this, when a human is bit by this spider, we can observe many different symptoms including priapism, a condition in which the penis is continually erect," said Nunes.

Other side-effects on top of the long-painful erections include loss of muscle control, severe pain, difficulty breathing and if its victim is not treated with anti-venom, could lead to death due to oxygen deprivation.

Nunes’ managed to give erection-challenged rats with high-blood pressure a bit of a boost. A peptide called PnTx2-6 was given to the flaccid rats, who achieved side-effect free erections.

"We found the toxin responsible (for the erections) and performed experiments using hypertensive rats which have severe erectile dysfunction. The toxin was able to normalise the erectile dysfunction in these animals," Nunes said.

The spider’s toxin worked in a different way to drugs such as Viagra though, said Nunes.

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