The black widow is one of the most iconic spiders in the world. We’ve all heard of it, and we’re all terrified of it to some extent. Its notoriety is due to several factors, from its venomous bite, to its distinctive hourglass markings, and its promotion in pop culture. Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about this arachnid.
There are several types of widow spiders
The widow spiders belong to the Latrodectus genus, which is composed of 31 species from all continents except Antarctica. These species can range from light to dark brown in coloration, but the widow species in america, called the southern, western and northern widow spiders are all black. Even the distinctive marking is not found in all widow spiders, and the marking is hourglass shaped only in black widows.
The venom of the female black widow is potent but rarely deadly
The venom of a female black widow is around 15 times stronger than the venom of a rattlesnake. However, their bite is not generally deadly, and it will usually result in muscle pain, nausea, numbness in the area of the bite, and difficulties breathing. The symptoms can become severe if the person who was bitten has a compromised immune system, or if the bite affected a small child. A bite is also a rare occurrence, since it is only the female spider that can deliver a bite that pierces the human skin, and it will only bite in high-threat situations. Most of the time, black widows prefer flight over fight.
Black widows will rarely consume their mates
Black widows are an iconic species of spider for several reasons, including their shiny black coloration and hourglass marking, their venomous bite, and the fact that the female consumes the male after mating. However, this is a rare occurrence that only happens when the male can’t escape. In fact, it has never been observed in the wild, only in laboratory settings for the North American species. Males also do their best to avoid post-coital cannibalism. They will only seek out well fed virgin females for mating, which they are able to identify due to the pheromones they release. A well-fed female also has a higher chance of birthing more numerous and healthier offspring.
Do you have black widow in your home?
Despite not being as dangerous as they have been portrayed, black widow spiders can still have a very potent bite, which is why it is recommended that they are removed by a professional. If you have a black widow in your home, contact us today and we will get rid of it.