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Brown Widow (Latrodectus geometricus)

The Brown Widow Spider is a cool spider that belongs to the cobweb spiders family. Some people know more about its cousin, the Black Widow, but the Brown Widow has its own interesting story. People once thought it came just from South Africa, but now we know it lives in South America and other parts of Africa too.

Scientific Classification

Brown Widow Spider

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

  • Size: Female brown widow spiders are around 0.5 in long (1.2 cm) and males are one-third of them. The usual leg span of female spiders is 1.5-2.0 in (3.81-5.08 cm).
  • Color: Just like their name, these spiders are mostly brown or tan. Some spiders can be pale while others can be extremely dark, like black.
  • Other Characteristic Features: One of the standout features of this species is the characteristic hourglass marking found on their abdomen, which is usually in striking shades of yellow or orange.
Female Brown Widow Spider

Eggs

Female spiders lay 12-150 eggs in a thorny or spiky tan-colored sac. Throughout their lifetime, they can produce around 20 sacs maximum. It takes around 20 days for the hatchlings to come out of the eggs.

Brown Widow Spider Egg

Spiderlings

Upon birth, survival becomes a brutal game, as spiderlings display cannibalistic tendencies. As they grow, they undergo a process of shedding old skin and developing new layers.

Brown Widow Baby Spider

The Web

Built from silk threads released from their spinnerets, the Brown Widow Spider’s web lacks a consistent pattern. Notably, they often design a retreat area within their web, allowing the female spider to hide when sensing potential danger.

Brown Widow Spider Web

Are Brown Widow Spiders Venomous?

Yes, Brown Widow Spiders have venom. They use it to help them catch the bugs they like to eat. Their venom is strong, but not as much as their cousin, the Black Widow.

Can Brown Widow Spiders Bite?

Yes, Brown Widow Spiders can bite. They usually keep to themselves, but they might bite if they feel really scared or trapped.

Brown Widow Spider Picture

Ecological Importance and Behavior

The Brown Widow Spider helps control insect populations, aiding in ecosystem balance and protecting crops from overpopulation.

Natural Predator: The Brown Widow Spider’s existence isn’t without challenges. Predators like digger wasps and mud daubers see them as an essential component of their diet.

Prey-Predator Dynamics: While these spiders face a consistent threat from their natural predators, their numbers haven’t dwindled. This could be attributed to their prolific breeding habits or their adaptability in diverse habitats.

Relationship with Humans: The Brown Widow Spider generally exhibits shy behavior, tending to keep away from human interaction. They are more likely to flee than engage when encountered. Bites, although rare, generally happen when they feel cornered or threatened. Affected individuals might experience redness, pain, and in severe cases, symptoms caused by its neurotoxic venom like vomiting or muscle rigidity.

Quick Facts

Other Names Brown button spider, brown-black widow, grey widow,  geometric button spider, house button spider
Distribution South Africa, United States, Afghanistan, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Japan, China, El Salvador, Brazil, Uruguay, Thailand, Costa Rica, and Australia
Habitat Backyards, garages, mailboxes, buckets, unused and empty containers
Web Type Asymmetrical
Diet Insects
Predators Digger wasps and  mud daubers
IUCN Conservation Status Not listed
Geometric Button Spider
Brown Button Spider

Did You Know

  • Despite being preyed on extensively, the number of spiders is not decreasing at all.
  • Although its cousin is the black widow, in terms of toxicity it is not close to the venomous species.

In conclusion, the Brown Widow Spider is a testament to nature’s adaptability and resilience. Despite the challenges from natural predators and their relatively shy nature towards humans, they maintain their numbers and continue to play a pivotal role in their ecosystems.

The Brown Widow Spider is a cool spider that belongs to the cobweb spiders family. Some people know more about its cousin, the Black Widow, but the Brown Widow has its own interesting story. People once thought it came just from South Africa, but now we know it lives in South America and other parts of Africa too.

Brown Widow Spider

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

  • Size: Female brown widow spiders are around 0.5 in long (1.2 cm) and males are one-third of them. The usual leg span of female spiders is 1.5-2.0 in (3.81-5.08 cm).
  • Color: Just like their name, these spiders are mostly brown or tan. Some spiders can be pale while others can be extremely dark, like black.
  • Other Characteristic Features: One of the standout features of this species is the characteristic hourglass marking found on their abdomen, which is usually in striking shades of yellow or orange.
Female Brown Widow Spider

Eggs

Female spiders lay 12-150 eggs in a thorny or spiky tan-colored sac. Throughout their lifetime, they can produce around 20 sacs maximum. It takes around 20 days for the hatchlings to come out of the eggs.

Brown Widow Spider Egg

Spiderlings

Upon birth, survival becomes a brutal game, as spiderlings display cannibalistic tendencies. As they grow, they undergo a process of shedding old skin and developing new layers.

Brown Widow Baby Spider

The Web

Built from silk threads released from their spinnerets, the Brown Widow Spider’s web lacks a consistent pattern. Notably, they often design a retreat area within their web, allowing the female spider to hide when sensing potential danger.

Brown Widow Spider Web

Are Brown Widow Spiders Venomous?

Yes, Brown Widow Spiders have venom. They use it to help them catch the bugs they like to eat. Their venom is strong, but not as much as their cousin, the Black Widow.

Can Brown Widow Spiders Bite?

Yes, Brown Widow Spiders can bite. They usually keep to themselves, but they might bite if they feel really scared or trapped.

Brown Widow Spider Picture

Ecological Importance and Behavior

The Brown Widow Spider helps control insect populations, aiding in ecosystem balance and protecting crops from overpopulation.

Natural Predator: The Brown Widow Spider’s existence isn’t without challenges. Predators like digger wasps and mud daubers see them as an essential component of their diet.

Prey-Predator Dynamics: While these spiders face a consistent threat from their natural predators, their numbers haven’t dwindled. This could be attributed to their prolific breeding habits or their adaptability in diverse habitats.

Relationship with Humans: The Brown Widow Spider generally exhibits shy behavior, tending to keep away from human interaction. They are more likely to flee than engage when encountered. Bites, although rare, generally happen when they feel cornered or threatened. Affected individuals might experience redness, pain, and in severe cases, symptoms caused by its neurotoxic venom like vomiting or muscle rigidity.

Quick Facts

Other Names Brown button spider, brown-black widow, grey widow,  geometric button spider, house button spider
Distribution South Africa, United States, Afghanistan, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Japan, China, El Salvador, Brazil, Uruguay, Thailand, Costa Rica, and Australia
Habitat Backyards, garages, mailboxes, buckets, unused and empty containers
Web Type Asymmetrical
Diet Insects
Predators Digger wasps and  mud daubers
IUCN Conservation Status Not listed
Geometric Button Spider
Brown Button Spider

Did You Know

  • Despite being preyed on extensively, the number of spiders is not decreasing at all.
  • Although its cousin is the black widow, in terms of toxicity it is not close to the venomous species.

In conclusion, the Brown Widow Spider is a testament to nature’s adaptability and resilience. Despite the challenges from natural predators and their relatively shy nature towards humans, they maintain their numbers and continue to play a pivotal role in their ecosystems.