Subject: Spider eating a cockroach in LA
Location: Los Angeles
August 19, 2013 6:57 pm
We recently started renovations on our garage here in Los Angeles. I couldn’t help but take a picture of this spider eating a cockroach on the side of our garbage can. I can’t figure out what spider it is. Can you help? Thanks! Megan. (in Los Angeles).
Your spider is an introduced Brown Widow, Latrodectus geometricus. According to BugGuide: “World wide in the tropical zone. It was introduced in Florida and has since been observed moving north through Georgia, and into South Carolina; it has also been officially recorded in California, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas. Habitat Found around buildings in tropical climates.(1) However, it is an introduced species and is the most human-adapted of the species occurring in the South Eastern US. Its webs may occur anywhere there is sufficient space to make one. It may be extremely abundant on houses and other man-made structures (e.g., barns, fences, guard rails, bridges). It reproduces frequently and disperses rapidly, making it nearly impossible to control.” As with other introduced species, which we consider Invasive Exotics, the Brown Widow might be contributing to a loss of species diversity by displacing native species where it has been introduced.