Black Widow Spider

September 15, 2022


Black Widow  1

Photographer: Brian Toycen 
Summary Author: Brian Toycen  

I recently came across this black widow spider in my back yard in Amarillo, Texas. This is the third one I’ve found this year. So, I’m cautious when moving things around and always look for their characteristic ‘messy’ web. Only the females are marked with the red hourglass design.

Black widows are the most venomous spider in North America. Their venom is around 15 times stronger than rattlesnake venom.  Every year approximately 2,500 people seek treatment for their bites. Fortunately, they don’t inject much venom and are considered to present a high risk only to the very young and very old.

This specimen is probably a Latrodectus hesperus, based on my location in the Texas panhandle. There are currently 31 ‘widow’ spiders in the Latrodectus genus and of these 5 are black widows, 3 of which are found in North America, Latrodectus variolus, the northern species; Latrodectus mactans, the southern species, and Latrodectus hesperus, the western species. Photo taken on August 20, 2022.

Photo details: Canon EOS 80D; exposure 1/250 second; ISO 640; f5.6; focal length 200 mm.

Amarillo, Texas Coordinates: 35.2220 -101.8313

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