Spider Bio: Latrodectus Mactans (Southern Black Widow)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Genus: Latrodectus
Species: L. Mactans
Common Name: Southern Black Widow Spider
Size: 1.5 Inchs (38 millimeters)

The latrodectus mactans (commonly known as the southern black widow or black widow) is a highly venomous species of spider. It is most known for its black and red coloring, and its notorious habit of eating its mate after mating. While a dangerous species, only 1% of bitten people die. Latrodectus are often confused with the genus steatoda (the false black widow). Juveniles of the latrodectus mactans have a grayish abdomen with white stripes along it, and has yellow and orange spots. The southern widow is mostly found in the southeastern US, but can be found anywhere from New York, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Nevada. The latrodectus variolus, however, is found in the northeaster US and southeastern Canada, although it does overlap in range with the latrodectus mactans. Latrodectus mactans, latrodectus hesperus, and latrodectus geometricus (the brown widow spider) are all well established in the Hawaiian Islands. It is thought that they have arrived there via imported produce.


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