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About Black Widow Spiders

Posted by on 03.27.2018

Explore Spiders

Black Widow

The largest spider in the world is a species of tarantula found in South America where one specimen had a leg span of over 11 inches.

Spiders don't get caught in their own webs because they have self-oiling legs.

Many people associate spiders with webs, but the truth is not all spiders spin these silk structures, which are used to catch their prey. In fact, several species of spiders use different strategies for obtaining food.

There are about 3,000 species of spiders roaming around North America, but only two in the southern and western United States can cause serious harm when accidentally disturbed — the black widow and brown recluse.

Female black widow spiders have a red hourglass shape on their backs. Males have white spots on their sides. Males only live about a year, but the female can live up to 3 years. Hungry female black widow spiders have been known to kill the male spider after mating, but that isn’t always the case. Geographically, black widow spiders can be found in the Eastern, Central and Western United States.

•Size: 3/4" to 3/8"

•Shape: Round

•Color: Black with characteristic red "hourglass" on back

•Legs: 8

•Wings: No

•Antenna: No

•Common Name: Black widow spider

•Kingdom: Animalia

•Phylum: Arthropoda

•Class: Arachnida

•Order: Araneae

•Family: Theridiidae

•Species: Lactrodectrus mactans

•Diet:Black widow spiders eat other pests. Sometimes they even eat other spiders!

Habitat:Black widow spiders tend to live in cellars and in piles of wood or trash.

Impact:The bite of a female black widow spider can be poisonous but not deadly to humans. The male black widow spider does not bite. A black widow spider bite is pale in the middle with a red ring around it and is followed by severe cramping, weakness, sweating, headache, anxiety, itching, nausea, vomiting, difficult breathing and increased blood pressure.


Wear heavy gloves when moving things that have been stored for a long time.

Shake out your shoes before putting them on.

Just to be safe, stay away from spider webs.

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About Black Widow Spiders