Black widow spider


38 Responses to “Black widow spider”

  1. Dan Fell says:

    GAH! *Falls off chair and hits the deck*

  2. Kommkast says:

    Kill it from orbit, its the only way to be sure. Otherwise spiders are pretty amazing.. and I do my best to save them rather than kill them.

  3. millie fink says:

    Scary indeed, but isn’t the bite of the brown recluse even worse? (I know, I know, Google is my friend.) Another post with a good photo of that one would make a pair of posts that perform a great public service, as this one already does: if you see them in your home, take protective action!

  4. We have these in the backyard, mainly in the area I’ve setup as my bicycle shop. They appear to me to be larger than black widows, and are quite strong; saw one lift a large beetle with ease, though the beetle in turn escaped. I have allergies, and keep a wide berth, though I respect them for what they are.
    Which happens to be creepily beautiful.

  5. nixiebunny says:

    I dunno; the black widows we have (dozens of them) are black and have red hour glasses as black widows should. And I’ve never gotten *that* close to one before, as I have no desire to see how their bite feels.

  6. robuluz says:

    Oh God. I’ve got to go and spray my garage. I saw three redbacks in there this morning, just putting my bike away.

  7. justin levesque says:

    just had a weird Black Widow event here Portland, Maine. check it out:

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      It was big news in the UK the other day when somebody found two black widows in a car(?) that had come from the US. They’re one of the most common spiders in southern California, so it’s funny to think of them as news. Next thing, they’ll be freaking out just because there’s a rattler in the bathroom and a mountain lion drinking from the pool..

  8. noot says:

    Kill it with fire!

  9. smithe2383 says:

    I thought the males were brown and females were the black ones with the red hourglass prints…

  10. Shane K says:

    Oh Christ, so that *is* what has been living in my patio.  Time to clear out those egg-sacs all over the place…!

  11. Colin Dunne says:

    That is a brown widow.  They are all over my backyard here in San Diego.  We have brown patio chairs and the spiders blend quite well.

  12. Chris Fitch says:

    agree with colin, + less dangerous. 

  13. Bruce Patullo says:

    Venomous, not poisonous.

  14. parrotboy says:

    We have those around our garage, and once (horribly, awfully, nightmarishly) on my pillow.  My spouse saw it run across the pillow, then we COULDN”T FIND IT.


    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I knocked one off the ceiling and then realized that it was more or less the same color as the rug, the bedding and my clothes.

  15. scifijazznik says:

    If I remember my super serious spiderology studies, the males are tiny compared to the females.  And just like with humans, they ain’t as purty.  They’re kind of gray and don’t have that shapely posterior.  

  16. Anon_Mahna says:

    “Leaving lepidoptera…Please, don’t touch the display, little boy, aha cute! Moving to the next aisle we have arachnida, the spiders, our…finest collection…….”

  17. I found a big black one in my living room a while back. She was nice enough to pose for a photo before I scooped her up and took her outside.

  18. Lobster says:

    Where’s my unicorn chaser!?  *sobs*

  19. petej says:

    Original submitter here. Making it onto boingboing has been on my bucket list for a while, thanks a ton for posting Maggie! Also more pics of this can be seen here

  20. BonzoDog1 says:

    Black widow spiders invade Maine shipyard

    (They apparently were delivered in a box of gear from California.)

    BATH, Maine — A Navy shipbuilder said it had to fumigate a warehouse and part of a warship because a shipment of parts from the West Coast contained about two-dozen venomous black widow spiders.

    • CountZero says:

      Thankfully it wasn’t Bath, NE Somerset, England. (Where the city in Maine gets its name), I can imagine the panic-stricken headlines now. We do have False Widows over here, Scientific name:  Steatoda nobilis

      Size:  Head and body 7 – 14mm

      Distribution:  Found in most parts of England – more common in the south. Recently reported sightings were in Bristol, North Wiltshire, Gloucester, Berkshire and Norfolk

  21. djlasertoes says:

    This is actually a Brown Widow spider. They’re an invasive species from Africa, and they’re rapidly out-competing Black Widows.

    “Researchers try to determine why the brown widow spider, a relatively new arrival from Africa, is spreading so quickly.”

  22. hbgvfcdxsz hbgvfcdxsz says:

    I can’t see any hairs growing on the spider’s abdomen here. Can anyone? 

  23. libelle says:

    We have tons of them in Southern California. You can differentiate black and brown widows from a lot of other spiders by their messy webs, the strength of the web, and the fact that they don’t flee if you light ‘em up with a flashlight at night. The latrodectus also has a very distinctive “old-school harbor mine”-shaped egg sac, which you’ll find in profusion wherever they live.

    I have a bunch of (disturbing to some) macro shots of these guys in this Flickr set.

    The brown widows are actually a wide variety of pretty colors. While their venom is (supposedly) even more dangerous to humans, they are less able to bite in a way to deliver the venom, and thus a lot less dangerous.

    Also, in fact, both black and brown widow spiders are generally pretty mellow. I know a entomologist who happily holds them on his bare hand when photographing them. I’ve been in many situations where a wolf spider or Johnson jumping spider would get aggressive and/or attempt to bite me, but I’ve never had a black or brown widow do so, even under the same conditions.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      You know when you run into a Black Widow web because you can’t cut it with a regular sword, only elf steel from Gondolin will do. For those who have never run into one, that’s not really a joke. Their webs feel like they’re woven of steel fiber.

  24. Vnend says:

    Here is a shot of what was identified as a male black widow spider I found in Maryland about ten years ago.  For scale, those rocks are grains of sand in the concrete of a curb.  You can see some hairs on its legs, and some damned big chelicerae.

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