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Red Widow (Latrodectus bishopi)

The Red Widow Spider is a species of bright red colored spiders belonging to the ‘widow spider’ group and found in a very limited area in the United States.

Scientific Classification

Red Widow Spider

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

Size: Females are almost double the size of the male with average size 0.5 inch along with a leg span of 1.5 to 2 inches.

Color: The cephalothorax has a bright reddish-orange coloration, while the abdomen is solid black base color accompanied by yellow rings that outlined red spot rows. The legs have a vermillion red complexion.

Other Characteristic Features: The abdomen is larger and rounder than the thorax, with four pairs of thin but strong legs attached compactly to both the sides of the thorax.

Red Widow Spider Size

Eggs

After mating, the female widow spider lays the eggs wrapped in a spherical silken sac around ½ inch in diameter. The sac can contain anything between 200 and 400 eggs. Interestingly, a female can yield four to nine such sacs in a single summer. The mother takes care of the eggs by guarding the sacs while moving from one place to another within the web itself in order to maintain a uniform humidity and temperature.

Red Widow Spider Egg Sac

Spiderlings

It takes almost eight to ten days from the time the eggs were laid for the spiderlings to hatch out. The young spiders go through one single molting process right inside the sac before emerging after around two to four weeks. The baby spiders disperse with a strand of silk by ballooning on air currents. The juveniles need to go through seven more molts before attaining the stage of sexual maturity.

How Poisonous is the Red Widow Spider

Like the other members of the genus Latrodectus, the red widows are indeed poisonous; however, there has been no record of a bite of this species in the medical literature. This is probably because of the red widow’s tendency to avoid human contacts, unlike its black and brown cosmopolitan counterparts.

Red Widow Spider Web

Quick Facts

Lifespan Most females live about nine months but the males die after a couple of weeks or a little more
Distribution Central and southern Florida, USA
Habitat Mostly in the sand dunes dominated by sand pine vegetation; mostly make their webs in the palmetto bushes
Common predators Birds of prey, larger spiders and reptiles
Diet Flies and other small creatures and arthropods that are caught in their webs
Red Widow Spider Picture

Did You Know

  • It has been declared as a threatened species in the United States.
  • Red widow spider webs are typically found at heights of more than 30 cm above the ground level.

Image Credit: I.pinimg.com, Static.dailysportx.com, Floridabackyardspiders.com, Bugguide.net

The Red Widow Spider is a species of bright red colored spiders belonging to the ‘widow spider’ group and found in a very limited area in the United States.

Red Widow Spider

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

Size: Females are almost double the size of the male with average size 0.5 inch along with a leg span of 1.5 to 2 inches.

Color: The cephalothorax has a bright reddish-orange coloration, while the abdomen is solid black base color accompanied by yellow rings that outlined red spot rows. The legs have a vermillion red complexion.

Other Characteristic Features: The abdomen is larger and rounder than the thorax, with four pairs of thin but strong legs attached compactly to both the sides of the thorax.

Red Widow Spider Size

Eggs

After mating, the female widow spider lays the eggs wrapped in a spherical silken sac around ½ inch in diameter. The sac can contain anything between 200 and 400 eggs. Interestingly, a female can yield four to nine such sacs in a single summer. The mother takes care of the eggs by guarding the sacs while moving from one place to another within the web itself in order to maintain a uniform humidity and temperature.

Red Widow Spider Egg Sac

Spiderlings

It takes almost eight to ten days from the time the eggs were laid for the spiderlings to hatch out. The young spiders go through one single molting process right inside the sac before emerging after around two to four weeks. The baby spiders disperse with a strand of silk by ballooning on air currents. The juveniles need to go through seven more molts before attaining the stage of sexual maturity.

How Poisonous is the Red Widow Spider

Like the other members of the genus Latrodectus, the red widows are indeed poisonous; however, there has been no record of a bite of this species in the medical literature. This is probably because of the red widow’s tendency to avoid human contacts, unlike its black and brown cosmopolitan counterparts.

Red Widow Spider Web

Quick Facts

Lifespan Most females live about nine months but the males die after a couple of weeks or a little more
Distribution Central and southern Florida, USA
Habitat Mostly in the sand dunes dominated by sand pine vegetation; mostly make their webs in the palmetto bushes
Common predators Birds of prey, larger spiders and reptiles
Diet Flies and other small creatures and arthropods that are caught in their webs
Red Widow Spider Picture

Did You Know

  • It has been declared as a threatened species in the United States.
  • Red widow spider webs are typically found at heights of more than 30 cm above the ground level.

Image Credit: I.pinimg.com, Static.dailysportx.com, Floridabackyardspiders.com, Bugguide.net

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