Maria Lukyanenko/ article author
Identification of pests, work with insect cultures, micrograph of insects, bibliographic studies.

Description and photo of a black widow spider

The black widow spider or Latrodectus mactans is distributed throughout the continents of the globe. Homeland is North America. Over time, an arthropod appeared in Australia, Oceania. Some species are found in Africa, Asia, Europe. In total, there are 31 species of black widows, the bites of some of them end in the death of animals, humans.

What a black widow looks like

The main feature of the spider are moderately long legs with setae. With their help, the black widow skillfully throws a web for prey. In spider webs, insects, bugs, caterpillars, as well as amphibians and rodents, are often found.

On a note!

The color of the abdomen of each species may vary, but the legs are always black. A true black widow has a shiny glossy black body, long powerful legs. A distinctive feature of the spider is the presence of a pattern on the lower part of the abdomen in the form of an hourglass of red color. Males do not have such marks.

The body of an adult female reaches a size of 2 cm, legs - 5 cm. Males are always smaller. There are 6-8 eyes on the head, but the spider sees weakly. The sense of touch helps to navigate in space. The predator senses the approach of the victim by vibrations of air, cobwebs.

Black widow spider
Black widow spider

Photos and descriptions of other species:

  • False black widow. It lives on all continents, differs from its cousin in the color of its characteristic pattern. Instead of red hourglass, they are pink. The spider leads a similar lifestyle, but is better adapted to harsh climatic conditions. Spider meets on Russian territory, Of Ukraine, other CIS countries. The poison is less toxic, but not enough to classify arthropods as harmless creatures.
  • Red widow. It lives in several places in Florida. Size, body shape is no different. The color of the chest and legs is red, orange. Abdomen black with yellow rings around. Lives in the wild under the leaves of a sandy pine. Spider bite does not pose a great danger to humans. But there is local irritation, pain, swelling.
  • Brown widow. Distributed in America. It has a brighter color - orange, brown, red. On the abdomen from the underside, an hourglass pattern is bright yellow, orange. The spider tries to stay away from people, their homes, lives in the wild. Bites to protect his own life. The bite is the weakest of all types of widows, but is valued in medicine.
  • White Widow. Refers to karakurt. It is found in Russia. Included in the list the most dangerous Russian spiders. It is distinguished by a light color - white, yellow. It hunts insects, caterpillars, bugs. The poison does not pose a mortal danger to humans, but leads to a temporary deterioration in well-being, provoking weakness, headache, nausea, pain in places of attack.
Types of Black Widow
Types of Black Widow

A photo of a black widow spider can be seen below. There, cubs at different stages of development, which differ from adults in size, lighter in color.

origin of name

A black spider with a red hourglass on its abdomen is well known all over the world not only because of extremely toxic poison, but also a certain lifestyle. Male and female meet only for mating in the mating season. It is important for the “boyfriend” to pre-calculate the mood of his “passion”. A hungry female will eat a partner even before he begins his mating season.If the spider is waiting for the male, he calmly approaches her and does his job.

The fate of the “man” directly depends on his physical condition, as well as on how full the female is. If the widow is suddenly hungry, she will eat the “boyfriend” in an instant. The same thing happens with a weakened spider that mated with several spiders. A strong male can crawl safely, and then reappear for the next mating.

The second name is black death, an arthropod received due to a strong poison. The toxic substance is injected by the widow upon bite. Spider venom kills a horse in a few minutes, in the absence of timely qualified help, a person dies in half an hour.

On a note!

The Latin name of the black widow - Latrodectus, comes from the Greek, literally means "biting in secret." The spider is hiding in a secluded place, waiting for the victim. A person is attacked with the goal of self-defense. The invisible black color helps mask in the dark, when animals are most active.

Where does the spider live

Species of black widows are present on all continents. Most poisonous spiders live in tropical countries. According to official data, 13 species live on the American continents, African and Eurasian - 8 each. There are 3 species in Oceania and Australia. One is found on all continents of the globe with the exception of Eurasia - Latrodectus geometricus.

In the wild, spiders live among vegetation, under stones, in hollows of trees, soil. Weave netsOnce in the house, they hide in the corners, behind furniture, in shoes, cabinets, any places where there is no direct sunlight. The habitat in Russia is the south of the country, forests, forest-steppes.

Black widow spider
Black widow spider

On a note!

Often a black widow is brought up as a pet. In itself, it does not attack, but attacks in self-defense. Keep her in a special terrarium. Lives in captivity for about 4 years, in nature - 12 months.


Spiders live alone. Collected in pairs only for mating. After fertilization, the female lays up to 900 eggs at a time. Wraps them in cobwebs, forms a cocoon, drags along. For 4 weeks, spiders are formed inside, which are also cannibals. In the cocoon they feed on each other, the strongest appear on the light. A maximum of 10 cubs remain alive. For some time, the younger generation keeps to the mother, then spreads in different directions.

The black widow feeds mainly on insects, bugs, larvae, weaker spiders. Often snakes, snakes, frogs, lizards, rodents come across the web. The predator paralyzes them with poison, injects saliva, which dilutes the insides, then drinks it calmly.

On a note!

Spiders, similar to the black widow, lead a similar lifestyle, but differ in less toxic poison. The most similar karakurt. Many species are found in Russia. Often they are called false widows.

Poison danger

Black widow spider bite toxicity exceeds 15 times the poison of a rattlesnake. The world dies from attacks every year spiders more people than sharks, snakes. By the frequency of bites, a black widow is in the first place.

A fatal outcome can occur in cases of weakened or pathologically weak immunity. More serious consequences in young children, the elderly, patients. Manifestations begin a few minutes after the bite. The complexity of the situation depends on the amount of poison that has entered the bloodstream. With the provision of timely medical care, a person successfully recovers.

The poison spreads throughout the body, affects the nervous system. Causes severe muscle cramps. As a result, the following symptoms appear:

  • increased salivation;
  • lacrimation
  • dizziness;
  • headache;
  • nausea;
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain;
  • tachycardia;
  • vomiting
  • urinary incontinence;
  • diarrhea;
  • pallor of integument;
  • dyspnea;
  • muscle spasms;
  • increase in blood pressure;
  • anxiety;
  • weakness.

At the site of the bite there is pain, swelling, redness.Over time, suppuration appears. The moment of attack itself is felt like a prick with a needle. The most dangerous female in the mating season, at the time of bearing the cubs. Males are less toxic, not as active.

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