Currently viewing the category: "Black Widow"
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Weird Spider
Location: Sacramento, Ca
January 10, 2011 11:31 pm
We found this spider in a towel in our backyard and weren’t sure what it was. Can you help??
Signature: Alysha

Juvenile Western Black Widow

Dear Alysha,
This is a juvenile Western Black Widow.  This female will eventually lose the intricate markings and mature into a glossy black spider with a red hourglass marking on the underside of the abdomen.  If you flipped this juvenile over, you would see the hourglass.  You may compare your spider to this image on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Spider Trapping a Baby Black Widow
Location: Southern California
November 4, 2010 1:10 pm
We found this spider in our backyard on the patio trapping a baby black widow. We are thinking it is either a male black widow or a brown widow, but are uncertain. We live in Southern California in the Murrieta/Temecula area. We would love to find out what it is. Thanks!
Signature: Courtney

Black Widow Cannibalism

Hi Courtney,
We are intrigued with your photos of Black Widow cannibalism.  The predator in this photo is an immature female Black Widow that will eventually lose that striped pattern and become a glossy black spider, and the prey is exhibiting the telltale red hourglass of a Black Widow as well.

Black Widow Cannibalism

Thank you so much.  Is Black Widow cannibalism common?  Do all females change like this?  Would it have started out all black like the baby here? I understand if you can’t answer all my questions, but I thought I’d try.
Thanks,
Courtney

Hi Courtney,
We were going to paste the third of your photos into this response so we could better determine the identity of the victim.  We have never seen data on the frequency of Black Widow cannibalism, but the name and alleged reason may be an indication that there is fact in the lore.  With that said, this may be a virgin adolescent female who is still wearing her prepubescent markings.  That may be a suitor that sacrificed his life for the perpetuation of the species.  Black Widows may be able to mate as adolescents and then storing the spermatozoa until it is needed.  Adult females are glossy black and we have not seen documentation of mature females marked otherwise.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

black and red spider
Location: North East USA
October 25, 2010 8:18 pm
Dear Bugman, I beg of your help. I am finding these red and black spiders (i believe) in the house. I live in CT. These bugs are so tiny maybe the size of a grain of rice. The first thing you notice is a little glossy redish black ball. I only find them on the rugs, havent seen them elsewhere. I have two new babies and I am soooooo scared. I dont have a camera to take a picture but I pray you can still help us.
I provided a picture of the closet spider i can find, this resembles the body structure but not the color or size.
Signature: BR

Redback Spider

Dear BR,
You do have some cause for concern if your creatures are the same as the one in the photo, though we have our doubts since you did not provide your own photograph.  This is an immature Black Widow.  Black Widows are one of only a few North American spiders with a dangerously venomous bite, and young children would be more severely affected by a bite than a healthy adult would.  Again, we really doubt that the creatures you have found are Black Widows.

Ed. Note: It has been brought to our attention in a comment that the spider in the photo is most probably not a North American species, but a mature Redback Spider from Australia, which is why the location in which a creature is encountered is often critical information for proper identification.

i cannot thank you enough for you quick response, I dont believe they are either. The structure is similar but they carry a little ball like on them it allmost looks like a bead, if i look at it very close its a maroonish dark red color. We have recently discovered we have carpet beetles and i dont know if this may be related, again we find these spiders on the rug and between the rug and wall. any other advice would kindly be appreciated i will try to get a picture to you as soon as i can, you are all wonderful people for doing this for others. thank you again

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Black Widows
July 16, 2010
Location:  Tx & Ar
I’m wondering if there is a season for Black Widows, the first pic I’m attaching is from Heartland, TX (SE of Dallas) 7/3/2010 & the second is from Little Rock, AR 7/16/2010, just seems to be that we’re seeing a more than usual. I say that but I’ve never seen one before a couple of weeks ago!
Thanks, Lisa

Black Widow

Hi Lisa,
In warmer climates, Black Widows can be found year round, but sightings will probably be more common during the warmer months when the spiders are more active.  Mature females will probably be most common toward the end of summer and into autumn.  The specimen for Arkansas is not mature.  The coloration of a mature spider does not contain the red markings on the dorsal surface.  Though these sightings were in southern states, we believe both are the Northern Black Widow,
Latrodectus variolus.  Your photo of  the immature specimen matches an image of the Northern Black Widow posted to BugGuide.

Immature Black Widow

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White spider with hour-glass dots on back
March 15, 2010
Found on a dead rabbit, amid the fluff of it’s shed fur. The rabbit had been under an old tin bucket and when I lifted it up, this spider was on the fur.
Colleen
Albuquerque, NM

Immature Black Widow Spider

Hi Colleen,
This is an immature Black Widow, probably a Western Black Widow, Latrodectus hesperus.  The immature spiders often have patterns on the back which become a solid glossy black as the spider matures.

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Trying to identify this spider.
February 28, 2010
I’ve got this great picture my brother took. We’re trying to identify it. Can you give me any information. Is it poisonous?
Renee
Southern California

Immature Black Widow

Hi Renee,
This is an immature Black Widow, and you probably know that the bite can be dangerous.  The female’s venom may cause a poisonous reaction.  BugGuide has much information on the Widow Spiders in the genus Latrodectus, and there are numerous images that show these markings on the immature specimens.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination