- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Araneae
- Suborder: Araneomorphae
- Family: Theridiidae
- Genus: Latrodectus
- Species: Latrodectus variolus
Common Name (AAS)
Northern 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
Charles Athanase Walckenaer, 1837
There have been 14 confirmed sightings of Latrodectus variolus (Northern Black Widow), with the most recent sighting submitted on May 24, 2019 by Spider ID member alexheath. The detailed statistics below may not utilize the complete dataset of 14 sightings because of certain Latrodectus variolus sightings reporting incomplete data.
- Web: 7% of the time, Latrodectus variolus spiders are sighted in a spider web (Sample size: 14)
- Sex: 6 female and 6 male.
- Environment: Latrodectus variolus has been sighted 25 times outdoors, and 2 times indoors.
- Outdoors: Man-made structure (5). Low foliage (6). High foliage (2). Ground layer (6). Under rock or debris (4). Open field, pasture, grassland (1). Forest (1).
Location and Range
Latrodectus variolus (Northern Black Widow) has been sighted in the following countries: United States.
Latrodectus variolus has also been sighted in the following states: Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee.
Latrodectus variolus has been primarily sighted during the month of May.
- May: 7
- June: 6
- July: 1
- In adult females of this species, the red or orange hourglass-shaped marking on the underside of the abdomen is almost always divided (separated into two triangles that do not touch one another). Occasionally, a specimen may only have half of the marking (one triangle) or else none at all. However, males sometimes have a full hourglass marking, or one that is slightly connected in the middle.
- Adult females typically retain red spots on the top (dorsal) side of their abdomen. Immature females may have red spots plus white lines, similar to the males.
- This species tends to have larger adult males than Latrodectus mactans or L. hesperus.
- This species is more common in the northern part of its range (eastern North America), but it still overlaps with Latrodectus mactans, especially in the southeastern states.
- Egg sacs are white, tan, or grayish spherical or pear-shaped objects hung in the female’s web. They can contain anywhere from 100-400 eggs.
- “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.