Currently viewing the category: "Black Widow"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Big moth and black widow
August 14, 2009
My son and I had a Discovery Channel moment leaving the post office yesterday. This moth was alive, and the spider was working very hard to wrap it up. It would climb up, drop a line down, throw a couple of legs over the moth, go over to the other wing, and repeat. The moth was fluttering but losing the battle.
We couldn’t believe this was right in the middle of the sidewalk (yes, there was a brick column in the *middle* of the sidewalk) at the entrance to a busy post office in the middle of the day!
I was going to take video but could only manage a quick cell phone photo before a well-meaning man came up and stomped the spider.
I think this is a real black widow, but I’m having trouble positively identifying the moth. We see them all the time here in Georgia – as the summer progresses, the moths get bigger.
Can you help?
Patty and Gabriel
Powder Springs, Georgia

Black Widow captures Regal Moth

Black Widow captures Regal Moth

Hi Patty and Gabriel,
We are sorry to hear that this shy and retiring, though poisonous Black Widow was stomped before getting to enjoy its gargantuan meal.  The moth is a very bedraggled Regal Moth or Royal Walnut Moth.  Its appearance indicates that it was already at the end of its short adult life.  Regal Moths do not feed as adults, and only fly long enough to mate and lay eggs, and possibly, like this specimen, provide a nutritious meal to a lucky predator.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Orb Weaver with Skink Pt2
July 24, 2009
I sent two images earlier today and got one more of the same unknown orb weaver with her skink. By now he’s collapsing on himself from her nonstop feast. As my son said, “Cool. Spiders are like vampires!”
Resa in Atlanta
Atlanta, GA

Common House Spider eats Gecko

Common House Spider eats Skink

Uknown Spider Feasting on Lizard
July 24, 2009
Saw this unknown spider had caught a baby skink it its web last night. I tried to get a decent night shot as the spider was biting the skink’s tail. The poor little lizard was twisitng fruitlessly. This morning the spider had turned the now dead skink and was working on it’s face. My kids enjoyed seeing the circle of life in action. I hope you enjoy the shots as well.
Resa in Atlanta
Atlanta, GA

Common House Spider eats Gecko

Common House Spider eats Skink

Hi Resa,
We are thrilled to be able to post your awesome documentation, though we have a certain fondness for lizards.  We do really hate those television commercials with the animated gecko though.   Your spider is not an Orbweaver, but rather a Cobweb Spider.  We believe it is the highly variable Common House Spider, Parasteatoda tepidariorum, based on images posted to BugGuide.  Spiders are able to incapacitate much larger prey when the prey becomes entangled in the web.  We have photos in our archive of a Golden Orb Weaver feeding on a Hummingbird and we have linked to an image of a Golden Silk Spider eating a Finch.

Common House Spider eats Gecko

Common House Spider eats Skink

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Great Site for Science Students
Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 4:43 PM
Hi Bugman,
I’m a sixth grade science teacher and I wanted to say how helpful your site is when teaching my students about helpful and harmful insects, arachnids, and other creatures. Students love the pictures and they often have good discussions about the bugs I show them. Your site is useful in helping students to identify before they kill bugs. Thanks for providing a great site. It’s great to show my students great pictures. You are appreciated!
C.G
Science Teacher
Florida
P.S.
I have enclosed a photo of a brown widow that I necessarily had to carnage on my front porch. It had nested under a chair on my front porch.

Brown Widow

Brown Widow

Dear C.G,
Thank you so much for your kind letter.  It is with trepidation that we are NOT tagging your letter as Unnecessary Carnage, and we feel many of our readership will disagree.  Your justifiably dispatched photo of a Brown Widow doused with insecticide nicely shows the typical orange coloration of the hourglass and the striped legs.  According to BugGuide the Brown Widow has a distribution:  “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.”  Since it is an introduced species, we will be tagging it as an Invasive Exotic.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear Bug Man,
We found this on the front door of our home in Byron, Georgia. Is it a Black Widow and is it poisonous? Thank you,
Denise West

Hi Denise
Despite originating in Georgia, this looks like a Male Northern Widow, Latrodectus variolus. There is a wonderful image that matches yours on BugGuide. From what we understand, only the female Black Widow has a dangerous bite.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

here I go again
Thank you for the help with the beetle I.D. I asked for earlier. Now I have another. While digging around in the backyard (Fort Gordon, Georgia) I came across this beautiful guy. Any ideas?
Stefan

Hi Stefan,
This diminutive beauty is one of the Widow Spiders in the genus Latrodectus. Based on the enlarged pedipalps, it is a male. Immature females and males often have similar coloration, but the pedipalps easily distinguish the males. According to BugGuide, the male spider is harmless, but it doesn’t indicate if they bite, just that they are harmless.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Blackwidow Love
Thought you might enjoy. This gal hung out on the window for months and then this little dude showed up – I though she would eat him right away but after 2 weeks I looked him up on the internet. He is her male counterpart, funny I thought he would look like her. Anyway they finally got to business many many times. I took tons of shots of them and then, a day latter, he was lunch.
Robin

Hi Robin,
Thanks for sending your awesome documentation of the mating of a Black Widow. Black Widows are sexually dimorphic, meaning the sexes do not look alike.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination