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Black Widow Spider

Black widow (Latrodectus mactans)Female of unknown Latrodectus (black widow) speciesA Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus mactans) suspended in its web.Female black widow spider (Latrodectus mactans) guarding an egg caseBlack widowFemale black widow spider (Latrodectus mactans)Black widow spider (Lactrodectus hesperus) and egg sac
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Black Widow Spider Facts

Kingdom:
Five groups that classify all living things
Animalia
Phylum:
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
Arthropoda
Class:
A group of animals within a pylum
Arachnida
Order:
A group of animals within a class
Araneae
Family:
A group of animals within an order
Theridiidae
Genus:
A group of animals within a family
Latrodectus
Common Name:
Most widely used name for the species
Black Widow Spider
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species
Latrodectus
Found:North America
Diet:
What kind of foods the animal eats
Carnivore
Size:
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
1.3cm - 3.8cm (0.5in - 1.5in)
Number of Species:
The total number of recorded species
3
Average Lifespan:3 years
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
Least Concern
Colour:
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Brown, Black, Red, Yellow
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Shell
Favourite Food:Insects
Habitat:
The specific area where the animal lives
Urban, temperate forest and woodland
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
250
Main Prey:Insects, Woodlice, Beetles
Predators:
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Wasp, Birds, Small mammals
Distinctive Features:
Characteristics unique to the animal
Sharp fangs and shiny black and red body

Black Widow Spider Location

Map of Black Widow Spider Locations
Map of North America

Black Widow Spider

There are three main species of black widow spider, all of which have very similar characteristics and inhabit areas in Northern America and parts of Mexico. Until very recently all three species of black widow spider were classified as one but recent research shows that as the species inhabit different areas, the three species of black widow spider have adapted to their environment in different ways.

The Northern black widow spider is primarily found in the north east of the USA and parts of south east Canada, although the range of the northern black widow spider overlaps with that of the western black widow spider a great deal.

The Western black widow spider inhabits areas of the western USA, Canada and parts of Mexico, although these western black widow spiders are often confused for the False black widow spider in Canada.

The Southern black widow spider is found throughout the states in south east America from Florida right up to New York, and are also found more west towards Texas and Arizona where the black widow spider is said to run rampant.

The black widow spider typically preys on a variety of insects, but occasionally they do feed upon woodlice and other arachnids. The black widow spider waits until prey has been trapped in its web before they quickly run out of their den, wrap it up and bite it. The venom from the bite of the black widow spider takes about ten minutes to take effect so the prey is held tightly by the spider. When the prey of the black widow spider has stopped moving, digestive enzymes are released into the wound where the black widow spider originally bit it. The black widow spider then carries its prey back to its retreat before feeding.

The black widow spider, although small, has extremely dangerous venom that is said to be more potent than the venom of a cobra. It is rare for a healthy human adult to be injected with a fatal dose of the venom from a black widow spider, and generally bites will result in a large swelling around the bite and will cause the human to experience nausea, muscle aches and breathing difficulties.

The greatest amount of human deaths by spider have been caused by the black widow spider, mainly due to the enormous geographical range that is inhabited by the black widow. These instances have dramatically increased with the development of antivenin and more effective plumbing in households.

Black Widow Spider Translations

Deutsch
Echte Witwen
English
Black Widow spider
Español
Latrodectus
Français
Latrodectus
Magyar
Fekete özvegy
Italiano
Latrodectus
Nederlands
Weduwen
Polski
Latrodectus
Português
Viuva-negra

Black Widow Spider Comments

hello
"best website ever"
Cool kid
"I hate spiders aaaaaaaaaaaa!"
johnia
"love"
Thomas
"Very cool"
Anonymous
"Cool"
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First Published: 21st December 2009, Last Updated: 16th February 2017 [View Sources]

Sources:
1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 21 Dec 2009]
2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 21 Dec 2009]
4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 21 Dec 2009]
5. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 21 Dec 2009]

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