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Pick Your Poison
MAY 2005
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Venom Farm
Photograph by Cary Wolinsky

Chuck Kristensen, head of SpiderPharm in Yarnell, Arizona, raises spiders, like these black widows, for their venom, a powerful research tool. Spider venoms act on specific cellular pathways in humans and may prove useful in drugs for such disorders as cardiac arrhythmias. Kristensen has more than a hundred species in his spider nursery. To extract venom, he anesthetizes a spider with a whiff of carbon dioxide and then gives it a small electric jolt, which forces it to express venom into a small pipette.

Photo Fast Facts
Camera: Nikon F100
Film Type: Fujichrome Velvia 100
Lens: Nikkor 28-70mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/60 @ f/5.6

Weather Conditions: Indoors
Time of Day: 2 p.m.
Lighting Techniques: Because the spiders were contained in small plastic cups with screens on top, I borrowed a light table and arranged the cups to show the spiders in a variety of positions.
Special Equipment: Light table

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