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

Black Widow?
Just wondering if you could confirm for me if this spider is in fact a black widow? It was found in Victoria BC, under a rock. As you can tell from the second photo, it was found with a messy web made of a really strong web material. It didn’t have an hourglass on the abdomen, and only had one orange mark, not two as the northern black widow is reported to have.

Hi Vanessa and Colin,
There is often a degree of individual variation when it comes to coloration and markings. This is a Widow, and Eric Eaton informs us it is a Western Widow. Thanks for sending in such marvelous photos.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Black widows mating
You recently helped me identify this young male Black Widow. I caught him messin around with an older woman and thought you might like to add one of these to your Bug Love section. Thanks for your help.

Wow Rus,
Your photos just made our day. Thanks for sending these awesome images to us.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What’s that spider?
I found this this little spider crawling on my 9 year olds bike here in Placentia, Cal. and was trying to figure out what it was. I searched thru your spider images but didn’t see one quite like it. It’s about 1/2 inch long including the legs.

Hi Rus,
Nice photo of Latrodectus hesperis, the Western Black Widow, a male specimen. Males are not as well recognized as females, but their bite can also be dangerous.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Albino Widow and Idunno
We live within 25 miles of Los Angeles. The “egg sacs” on the bottom of the lawn chair were found on the 4th of July. The closest one looks like it has legs, but I never saw anything move. We left it unprotected and I think the gardener destroyed them. I’ve shown the picture around without a hint. And this is the second time we’ve found one of these. Looks and acts a lot like a Black Widow, but the color…
Thanx for this website!

Hi Jared,
Here is what Eric Eaton has to say about your bachelor: “It IS a widow, probably an immature, or a male, or both. Widows are “born” white, with scattered darker markings. They darken as they age. Males of some species retain the pale color into adulthood (they reach adulthood much faster than females, and are less than half the size of females at maturity). The egg sacs shown with the widow are NOT Achaeranea tempidariorum, but not sure exactly what they are. Very strange, but distinctive and probably identifiable. Eric ”

Update:  May 25, 2014
We just approved a comment from Heather indicating that the Egg Sacs are Bolas Spider Egg Sacs.  We found images on the Natural History of Orange County website that confirms Heather’s identification and indicating that the species is 
Mastophora cornigera.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Black widow spider picture
Hello there,
I found this Black Widow spider in my back yard the other night. To be quite honest, “I hate these things with every ounce of life in me!” They are the only things that really make my skin crawl. With that said, I took this picture with my new camera and I was very surprised how well it came out. The picture is so good; I thought I would share it with you and the world. I hope you like it, if so please post it on you web site. My name is Mike and I live in Southern California .

Hi Mike,
While we respect your dislike, we have learned to live in harmony with Black Widows in our Southern California offices.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

black widow?
Hello, we live in Kentucky and found these in our trash bin outside, we assumed the large one was a black widow, but there is a very small one with it on the side, is that a male or another female?Thanks.

Hi Kerry,
Though your photo doesn’t actually show mating activity, we still felt it appropriate for our Love Among the Bugs page. The Black Widow has earned her name because of her reputation for devouring her mate. The tiny male in the upper corner of your photo is biding his time, living in close proximity and waiting to make his move. The male is a much smaller spider. When the time is right, he will move in and if the fates allow, consumate the pairing. Once years ago, I watched a male widow snare his mate by spinning a web around her. This probably kept her still while he did the deed, hopefully allowing him to skulk off into the night afterwards.

Update: (08/31/2008)
Bug Love and the Black Widow.
I just had speak up after seeing this section in bug love.. the problem is MALE black widow’s arnt Black and they have no hourglass shape mark on the abdomin. The are actuly almost translusent. Very small in comparison the the female they are an beige almost. kinda clear looking. Just thought id mention it considering you refer to the other black spider in the picture as a Male… Great site and keep up the good work.

Hi Steve,
WHile what you say is often true, one has only to glance at page after page of Widow photos on BugGuide to see there are several species and much variability within the species, and much confusion on how to accurately distinguish the various species. We searched until we found some support that male Widow Spiders can have an hourglass. There is a series of three images of a very black male spider with red marking on the upper surface as well as a distinct hourglass underneath that are posted to BugGuide. Lee from Cass County, Texas, questioned the hourglass specifically. The identification on that spider is the Southern Black Widow, Latrodectus mactans. BugGuide has not received any submissions of the Southern Widow from Kentucky, where the photo in question was taken, but submissions from Ohio and Illinois would indicate that the Southern Widow ranges far enough north to include Kentucky. Our conclusion that the spider in the photo submitted to our site was a male was based on behavior, that the diminutive male Widow Spider will take up position at the perifery of the larger female’s web until he can attempt mating.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination