Widow, Latrodectus hesoerus
* * images of female, immature
and male * *
left - Mature female Black Widow
right - Female with penny for size comparison
In nature, and especially at Kaweah
Oaks Preserve, never put your hand into a squirrel, rabbit or other dark
hole in the ground or tree. This is the most likely habitat for hungry
Black Widow Spiders. Their bite is painful and is the most toxic
of all spiders in the Central Valley. Its poison can cause flu-like symptoms
and, in severe cases, liver damage - especially in young children or the
Luckily, they are very sensitive to insecticides and, therefore, easy to
Male Black Widow Spider
This male specimen was found on the outside of a neighbor's home
in mid-October, well after mating season. So he either did not mate
or was faster (or smarter) than most of his species.
|left - the adult male Black Widow
The hourglass marking is faint, but discernable.
Mating is usually the last activity for a male Latrodectus hesoerus,
he generally never escapes to tell the tale. The female rewards the
male by killing and eating him after mating. That's why she's always a...
|a note from Marjorie Moody about male black widows:
I have never heard of an adult male black widow being implicated in
poisonous bites. I assume that they are relatively safe. The
thing that makes the female's bite so dangerous is the great size of the
poison glands which are not just confined to the chelicerae but extend
back into the top of the head, allowing them to hold so much more venom.
I don't know at all about the size of the male's venom glands.