Black widows are known for their deadly bites as they are highly poisonous arachnids. They are predominantly black with some red spots on its belly. These spiders live in the temperate or warmer regions of the world. One of the most venomous spiders, black widows injects venom that is 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake. They are often called shoe-button spiders precisely due to their physical shape.
Black Widow Spider Facts For Kids
Lifespan: 1 – 3 years
Weight: 1 gram
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Predators: birds and wasps
Physical Features and Behavior
- Black widows are 38 mm (1.5 in) long and 6.4 mm (0.25 in) in diameter.
- They weigh around 1 gram (0.035 ounce).
- Black widow spiders are the most venomous spiders in North America.
- Male widows are one-fourth the size of females which is why they are often killed by their counterparts.
- Females are 20 times heavier than males and produce much more venom than the latter.
- The female has got an hourglass design along with the shiny black abdomen.
- These spiders live 1 to 3 years on average.
- While black widows are not really threats for adults they are certainly fatal to small children. Its bite can lead to nausea, muscle aches and even paralysis. Generally their bites do not cause death.
- Black widows are absolutely non-aggressive and they will not attack unless provoked by some accidental events.
- They spend time alone all year round except when it comes to mating.
Black widow males do find themselves unlucky as females sometimes kill and eat them after mating.
- Black widows are carnivores.
- Black widows are likely to prey mosquitoes, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and beetles.
- They are expert in catching prey as they entrap victim with bristles (on hind legs) which indeed makes the prey motionless.
- Black widows inject digestive enzymes (into the prey) with their help of their fangs.
- Black widows like to eat crickets, moths, flies, small animals and reptiles.
Dig Deeper: Spider Facts For Kids
Where do Black Widow Spiders Live
- Black widows are the most venomous spiders in North America.
- They are more readily found in southern Canada, Florida, and California.
- They fancy living in deep dark places such as under rocks, logs, or in drainage pipes but they rarely kill humans.
- Black widows also find their habitats in woodpiles, under ledges, hollow stumps, rubble piles, sheds, and privies. At times they do like to live in cold places.
- They also live in human-abandoned areas such as in basements or in crawl spaces.
- Besides L. mactans three other spider species live in the United States including L. geometricus, L. curacaviensis, and L. heperus.
- In the southeastern United States, black widows find some trees, shrubs, and woods to live in.
Dig Deeper: What Do Spiders Eat
- They spin large webs where females lay hundreds of eggs. Spiderlings spread out and leave their web very early in the stage.
- Their web is strong enough to hold 250 to 750 eggs easily.
- Summer is the hot season for laying eggs as females deposit more than 600 eggs in these days. These eggs range from whitish tan to papery texture.
- The diameter of an egg is 12 mm (0.5 in).
- Spiderlings (young spiders) appear in orange-white color and they show up in about 14 to 30 days.
- The average lifespan of a female is 1.5 to 2 years.
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