A Black Widow spider is classified in the genus Latrodectus and in the family Therididae. All together there are around six different species of Black Widows and all of them are venomous.
A Black Widow spider is also referred to as the “hourglass” or “shoe button” spider. The Black Widow is a shy and a nocturnal spider. All species of Black Widows are found in warm climates of the north and south, which are approximately 45 degrees north or south of the equator. The Black Widow spider can also be found in four of the American southwest deserts as well.
The Black Widow weights about one gram; they are anywhere from one to one and a half inches long and their leg span is anywhere from one to three inches long. There are several differences in appearance between the male and the female Black Widow spider.
Both have a spherical abdomen, but the male is usually half the size of a female. The female is a shiny black color and on the underside of its abdomen there is a reddish colored hourglass shape. On the other hand, the male Black Widow spider has yellow and red bands with spots on their back. When males are newly hatched they are a white, sometimes with a yellowish tint. Newly hatched Black Widows are harmless and resemble the males more in appearance. The Black Widows do spin webs, however their webs contain no specific patterns or shapes but their silk is stronger than any other spider. Also, the female spider will rarely leave the web.
It takes anywhere from 70 to 90 days for a Black Widow spider to sexually mature. The Black Widow typically mates during the springtime. A sac will contain anywhere from 250 to 700 eggs. A Black Widow typically lives up to three years and their main diet consists of a variety of insects.
Black Widow Spiders – Bites
The adolescent and male Black Widow spider is harmless; leaving the female as the only one that is venomous. The female Black Widow spider’s venom is not only more venomous than any other spider, it’s actually deadlier than a rattle snake bite!
The danger of being bitten by a Black Widow is that the victim most likely will not feel it. However, there are some symptoms to look for, which may include but not be limited to: abdominal pains, sore muscles, especially on the feet, a dry mouth and paralyzed diaphragm, excessive sweating, and swollen eyelids. If a Black Widow spider bites somebody they should seek medical attention immediately. The victim is usually given antivenin or calcium gluconate.