9 Facts About Black Widow Spiders

They Aren't Always Black

Many people conceive of the black widow spider as a specific species. Only in the U.S. are there three types of black widows: northern, southern, and western.

Only Adult Females Inflict Dangerous Bites

Girls are bigger than boys in widow spiders. We think female black widows can pierce vertebrate skin better than males and inject more venom when they bite.

They Make Cobwebs

Black widow spiders belong to the spider family Theridiidae, commonly called the cobweb spiders. These spiders, black widows included, construct sticky, irregular silk webs to ensnare their prey.

Females Have Poor Eyesight

Because they can't sight, black widows use their silk webs to "see" the world. Black widow females often hide in holes or crevices and create their webs as extensions.

They will eat their siblings

It has been reported that, when there is a notable difference in size, larger spiderlings will cannibalize smaller ones once hatched.

Their Bites Are Rarely Fatal

Despite being painful and requiring medical attention, black widow bites seldom kill. Black widow bites usually produce very moderate symptoms, and many victims don't know they were bitten.

Females Rarely Eat Their Mates

After mating, Lactrodectus spiders are supposed to eat the smaller male. This concept is so popular that "black widow" has become synonymous with femme fatale, a seductress who seduces men to harm them.

They are solitary arthropods

It is common for black widow spiders to simply congregate for the purpose of mating. Following that, they will separate ways, and the female will deposit her eggs.

They liquefy their prey

Black widow spiders will bite their victims and use their venom to immobilize them. At the same time, they inject digestive enzymes that liquefy their prey into a fluid that the spider then drinks.