Latrodectus mactans Spider [Southern Black Widow]

Latrodectus mactans Spider [Southern Black Widow]

Southern Black Widow Spider scientific name Latrodectus mactans and often consider official Black Widow. L. mactans considered as most feared spider in North America. Black widow is shiny, round  black spider and have red hourglass mark on lower side on belly (ventral side). Typically L. mactans also have red spot or patch their spinnerets.

  • Common Name – Black Widow Spider, Shoe Button Spider or Black Widow.
  • Southern Black Widow Spider Size – Male black widow much smaller than Females.

About Male Southern Black Widow – Much smaller than females, with elongated purple, black or gray white with abdominal stripes. They also have red, yellow or orange spots on abdomen. Size of male widow – bodies range from 3-13 mm and legs proportional in size.

Latrodectus mactans

A venomous species of spider in genus Latrodectus and easily recognized for their distinctive shiny black and red coloring. Black widow name due to strong belief that they will kill and eat male after mating.

Latrodectus genus species or Widow spider are found in Africa, Australia and North America. Where as Latrodectus mactans of Southern Black Widow only in Southeastern United States – Ohio to texas and in Hawaii.

Latrodectus mactans web – Generally L. mactans prefer secluded, shaded and humid corners to build their web (to capture insect).

Latrodectus mactans
Latrodectus mactans

Where Southern Black Widow Live? L. mactans prefer wooded area but also found near buildings like under chairs, tables & in crevices. They generally do not come indoors but sometimes occur in toilet and windows.

Scientific Classification of Southern Widow Spider

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Class Arachnida
Order Araneae
Family Theridiidae
Genus Latrodectus
Species L. mactans

Female produce a beige colored egg sac & 1 to 1.25 cm in diameter and contain avg 220 eggs which approx 0.8 mm in diameter. In starting spiderlings white and lack the abdomen marking or spot. But gain color and mark with progressive molts. Female Southern Black Widow have complete hourglass mark on their lower side abdomen.

Latrodectus mactans Venom – These spiders well known for their dangerous bite and have potent venom. According to study venom of black widow spider is 15 time stronger than rattlesnake. They release neurotoxin & responsible for various health problem like muscle spasm, breathing problem, headache and termed as latrodectism.

Southern Black Widow

Southern Black Widow Life cycle – Egg sac retain within web and after incubation period (approx 1 month) spiderlings emerge from egg sac. Then Juvenile molts several times before maturity (adulthood). Development time depends upon various factors like food, temperature. Average time period 26-103 days for males and 57-122 days for females. Southern Black Widow typically live approx 1.5 years and male spider live 2-5 months.

Southern Black Widow Spider Facts

Outdoor habitats in which both male and female spiders often found near wood, rock pile, hollow tree stumps, rodent burrows. Indoor habitats – Outhouses, garage, shed and basement. They inhibit low-lying areas and web found few meters from floor or ground.

These spiders produce strong silk and construct web to trap prey. Web constructed in erratic manner as well as without discernible pattern. They web enough strong to trap a mouse.

Southern Widow Spider can produce 9 egg sac per summer and incubation period for up to 1 month. Only approx 30 spiderlings hatch because (due to survival of fittest). They cannibalize each other after hatching or most of juvenile may not survive initial molt.

Latrodectus mactans normally predators & prefer mosquitoes, flies and other insects.

Southern Black Widow Spider Bite

Only Mature Southern Black Widow female can bite & venomous in nature. Also There bite is painful. They easily recognized by their color & hourglass shaped marking. Southern Black Widow Spider Poisonous – So They produces a protein venom & affect your nervous system.

South Black Widow Spider Bite Symptom – You may feel severe pain, burning, swelling and redness at the bitten area.

  • Muscle begin hurt and become stiff (usually take up to 8 hours), rash and itching).
  • Vomiting Nausea, cramping and severe abdominal pain.
  • Excessive sweating, swollen eyelids. You may also feel difficulties to move legs.

Bite prevention – Apply cold washcloth, ice pack wrapped at affected area, Wash area with soap and water. Seek medical help and rush to hospital, doctors. Apply an antibiotic cream at bitten area.

Read About – Black Widow Spider Pictures

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *