Black Widow spider
Location: Barnegat, NJ
May 9, 2012 10:10 pm
We have found many Black Widows in our back yard, and even though we have 2 medium sized dogs, we are not concerned at all with the spiders since we learned how much they just want to be left alone and are not aggressive at all. It seems like you mostly have to be looking for them in order to find them (under rocks, logs, etc.), and even when they are discovered, they have to have their lives threatened before they’ll bite. Otherwise, they are incredibly docile.
The 1st Black Widow spider we found was still a juvenile, and still had the red dots down its back. We kept it in a container for just one night before we released it into the woods far away from the neighborhood the next morning. In just that one night, it shed its exoskeleton! We kept the shedding in the container.
About 2 months later, right around Halloween, we found a very large mature Black Widow spider, and did the same thing — kept it in the same container as the 1st one before releasing it into the same woods later on that day. Before releasing both spiders, we (of course) took pictures.
The picture I’m attaching is of the 2nd, larger spider, with the shedding of the younger, smaller spider dangling above it. We were fascinated to see how you can easily see the outline of the fangs on the shedding!
We have since tried to let people know how these spiders get such a bad rap for unfair reasons, but not many are convinced. Fear has been ingrained deeply in some!
Hope you enjoy this macro shot for your wonderful site!
Signature: Thy Cavagnaro

Northern Black Widow

Hi Again Thy,
Thank you for sending in your photo of a mature Northern Black Widow.  Like your previous submission, we are tagging this with the Bug Humanitarian Award.  You are correct.  Black Widows are docile spiders that rarely leave their webs and they are not aggressive.  They are feared and reviled by so many folks who would much rather exterminate than learn anything of their habits.  We once had one living near an outdoor light outside of our Los Angeles office and the spider would hide by day and come out at night where she fed on moths and other insects attracted to the light.

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Location: New Jersey

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