Black Widow

It’s summertime in the Canyon, so that means it’s bugtime. I killed a number of these over the holiday weekend, but thought I’d take a picture of this lady before I smushed her with a broom.

I would’ve tried to get in closer, but admittedly, I was a little scared.

Hi Chris,
Thanks for the update on the buggy canyon. Just two days ago I overturned an old piece of wood while planting an oak seedling, and lo and behold, there was a big fat black widow snuggled in a crack on the underside. I gingerly replaced the wood. I have heard it said that there isn’t a house in southern California that isn’t home to at least 15 black widows, despite the actions of paranoid home owners and the attempts of exterminators to eradicate the species from the planet. Though she is a desert creature, the Western Black Widow Spider, Latrodectus hesperus, seeks out dark, cool, and usually damp locations to spin her indefinite web. Look for her in wood piles, hollow stumps, crawlspaces and among refuse stored in garages and attics. The water heater area is often a favorite site. The sexes exhibit pronounced dimorphism, looking like two entirely different species. The male is small and greyish while the much larger female is usually a glossy black, with a red (though sometimes orange or even yellow) hourglass marking beneath her bulbous shiny abdomen. The size difference contributes to her reputation as a man eater. The bite of both sexes is poisonous, and the venom is reported to be 15 times as strong as that of a rattle snake. Though they are not aggressive, preferring to hide in the dark, they occasionally bite people. Avoid contact with the spider and immediately call a physician if a bite occurs. An ice bag should be placed on the wound and the victim should be kept calm.

1 thought on “Black Widow”

  1. Good day,

    My name is Johan. Labuschagne. I am from South Africa . I have got a spider which I believe is a Blacwidow. But I have some doubts. The red marking in its back is not in the form of a hour glass. But it is very prominent and vry red. Also the back side of this specific spider looks very velvety.

    He/ she has the same traits as blackwidow spiders e whole feeling around with its front legs etc.

    It has molted 3-4 times since I’ve had it. Had it for round about 2 months.

    It seems very happy and at home.

    My questions are the following:

    Is it about to die seeing that the back is velvety?

    Is it a male or female? ( it is entirely black besides the red marking and some very very barely noticeable discolouration right behind it’s head)

    Will it die if I let it go since I don’t like wild animals in cages etc?

    Any answers or suggestions will be appreciated and thanks for the chance to ask someone.

    Kind regards

    Johan Labuschagne


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