Black widows are notorious and they have captured our imagination all over the world. They are also the most venomous species of spiders in the US, with a venom that is 15 times stronger than the venom of a rattlesnake. This is due to the chemical known as alpha-latrotoxin, which overwhelms nerve cells causing tremendous pain. As the toxin comes into contact with a nerve cell, the nerve will dump all its signalling chemicals at once, causing a chain reaction in the nervous system. So let’s take a look at some interesting facts about this spider species.
There are many different black widow species
There are over 30 black widow spider species all over the world, with three of them being in the US, where you have the western, northern and southern black widow. These species are fairly similar, but as their name suggests, they are found in different parts of the country. You also have the newest species of black widow, the Phinda button spider was discovered in South Africa in 2019, and it has bright purple eggs.
Young black widows are cannibals
Black widows are known for being cannibals, it’s where the name comes from (the female eats the male after copulation, and the spider is black). However, these spiders are particularly cannibalistic when they are young. After hatching, the spiderlings will be of different sizes, and the biggest among them will eat the smaller ones. However, if they are born mostly of the same size, they will wait a bit to see who grows faster before they start eating each other.
Sexual cannibalism is pretty rare
Speaking of cannibalism between males and females, the act of sexual cannibalism between black widows is fairly rare. The behavior was first observed in the lab, where the male has little room to escape the female. However, in the wild, the sexual dynamic is a little bit different. Not only can the male escape, he will also avoid females that are hungry, which he can tell by their pheromones.
They have spidey senses
The legs of the black widow are covered in bristles, which allow the spider to stand on its web and feel any slight motion throughout it. This gives the spiders the ability to sense everything that is happening within its vicinity. Not only that, but the spider can change its position in order to adjust the frequency of the vibrations it perceives.
Still, having black widows in the home is never fun, and they can be quite dangerous to people with compromised immune systems, elders, and children. If you have black widows in your home, contact us today and we will help you get rid of them.