Black Widow Spider
The female black widow spider is shiny black in color with a reddish hourglass shaped mark on the underside of her abdomen. The males are approximately half the size of the females. They also have longer legs and have yellow and red bands and spots on their backs. Like all spiders, the black widow is venous. Although their venom is reported to be 15 times more toxic than that of a rattlesnake’s, the black widow is not aggressive and only uses the venom in defense or to feed. The black widow spider venom is neurotoxic meaning that it blocks the transmission of nervous impulses. A black widow bite is rarely fatal in humans and can be treated. The female black widow rarely leaves her web where she hangs with her belly upward. Their webs lack any distinct design or shape and may be located on ledges, rocks, plants, or debris. While the females are generally shy and nocturnal, they may become aggressive if their webs are disturbed.