Latrodectus mactans
(Southern Black Widow)

Featured spider picture The spider species Latrodectus mactans, commonly known as Southern Black Widow, belongs to the genus Latrodectus, in the family Theridiidae. Latrodectus mactans spiders have been sighted 26 times by contributing members. Based on collected data, the geographic range for Latrodectus mactans includes 1 countries and 14 states in the United States. Latrodectus mactans is most often sighted outdoors, and during the month of June.

Taxonomic Hierarchy

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Suborder: Araneomorphae
  • Family: Theridiidae
  • Genus: Latrodectus
  • Species: Latrodectus mactans

Common Name (AASMore information icon)

Southern Black Widow

Other Common Names

Black Widow, Black Widow Spider, Widow Spider, Hourglass Spider, Shoe Button Spider, Cobweb Spider, Comb-footed Spider, Tangle-web Spider, Gumfoot-web Spider, Button Spider

Author

Johan Christian Fabricius, 1775

Primary Colors


Sightings Overview

There have been 26 confirmed sightings of Latrodectus mactans (Southern Black Widow), with the most recent sighting submitted on October 18, 2018 by Spider ID member kathi_m. The detailed statistics below may not utilize the complete dataset of 26 sightings because of certain Latrodectus mactans sightings reporting incomplete data.

  • Web: 33% of the time, Latrodectus mactans spiders are sighted in a spider web (Sample size: 12)
  • Sex: 17 female and 7 male.
  • Environment: Latrodectus mactans has been sighted 8 times outdoors, and 5 times indoors.
  • Outdoors: Man-made structure (4). High foliage (1). Ground layer (2). Forest (1).

Location and Range

Latrodectus mactans (Southern Black Widow) has been sighted in the following countries: United States.

Latrodectus mactans has also been sighted in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia.

Seasonality

Latrodectus mactans has been primarily sighted during the month of June.

  • January:
  • February:
  • March: 1
  • April: 2
  • May: 4
  • June: 4
  • July: 3
  • August: 4
  • September: 2
  • October: 3
  • November:
  • December: 1

Additional Remarks

  • Not the only “widow spider” in North America; there are also four other species of Latrodectus.
  • Females of this species are overall typically smaller in body length than females of Latrodectus hesperus and L. variolus.
  • Underside of abdomen has a bright red or orange hourglass-shaped marking (two connected triangles). Rarely, it make be faded, indistinct, or absent. (If the triangles are separated, it may be Latrodectus variolus instead.)
  • Top side of abdomen can have white stripes and red or orange spots on the black background; especially in immature specimens.
  • Adult males are tiny in comparison to the adult females.
  • Contrary to popular belief, female does not always eat her mate; it depends on the circumstances.
  • “Deadly” is a misnomer! Human deaths are extremely rare from a widow bite (or any other spider bite, for that matter). Anti-venom exists for treatment, but is rarely necessary; pain medication, muscle relaxers, and/or calcium gluconate are often all that’s needed.

Featured Pictures

Picture of Latrodectus mactans (Southern Black Widow) - Male - Dorsal Enlarge Picture
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Picture of Latrodectus mactans (Southern Black Widow) - Ventral Enlarge Picture
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Picture of Latrodectus mactans (Southern Black Widow) - Ventral Enlarge Picture
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Picture of Latrodectus mactans (Southern Black Widow) - Female - Ventral Enlarge Picture
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Picture of Latrodectus mactans (Southern Black Widow) - Female - Ventral Enlarge Picture
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Picture of Latrodectus mactans (Southern Black Widow) - Female - Dorsal Enlarge Picture
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Picture of Latrodectus mactans (Southern Black Widow) - Female - Ventral Enlarge Picture
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Picture of Latrodectus mactans (Southern Black Widow) - Male - Dorsal Enlarge Picture
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