Which one of these spiders is a black widow?
This will get your spidey sense tingling: There’s a type of spider that looks like a black widow—but packs a much less potent bite.
False widow spiders resemble their more dangerous counterparts, the black widow spiders, in appearance but have less harmful venom. However, it’s still advisable to exercise caution around any spider that resembles a black widow.
So, which one of these spiders is a black widow?
Let’s take a closer look at some spiders and see if you can spot the black widow.
1. False Widow Spider (Steatoda sp.)
- Resembles a black widow due to its similar body shape and coloration.
- Typically has a dark brown or black color with a shiny appearance.
- May have light markings on its abdomen, similar to the red hourglass marking on a black widow.
- However, the false widow’s markings are usually less defined and may vary in shape.
- Bite from a false widow spider can still cause discomfort and possibly mild symptoms.
2. Brown Widow Spider (Latrodectus geometricus)
- Also resembles a black widow but has a different coloration.
- Typically has a tan or light brown color with dark markings.
- May have an hourglass-shaped marking on its abdomen, similar to a black widow.
- The brown widow’s hourglass marking is usually orange or yellow.
- Bite from a brown widow spider is generally less venomous than that of a black widow, but can still cause discomfort.
3. Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus mactans)
- The true black widow spider is the most venomous of the three species mentioned here.
- Has a distinctive jet-black color with a shiny appearance.
- Features a red hourglass marking on the underside of its abdomen.
- Bite from a black widow spider can be very painful and may cause severe symptoms, especially in vulnerable individuals.
It’s important to note that identifying spiders can be challenging, especially for individuals without proper knowledge or training. If you encounter any spider that resembles a black widow, it’s best to avoid close contact and seek professional assistance if needed.
While false widow spiders and brown widow spiders may resemble black widows in appearance, they are not as dangerous. However, it’s essential to exercise caution around any spider that looks similar to a black widow, as even less venomous bites can still cause discomfort and possible mild symptoms. If you are unsure about the type of spider you have encountered, it’s always advisable to seek professional advice.