The Black Widow: A Fatal Attraction

A Night's Sleep Interrupted

For a moment, think back on a time when you were sleeping and awoke to a feeling of pain somewhere on your body, upon closer inspection you realize it is a spider bite. Now in the moment, you don't think much about the bite that just occurred, but take the dull bite and get some much needed sleep. A regular spider bite is what you just received, one that most likely lives in the corners of your house, the particular species quite afraid of you and is just trying to protect itself.

In all reality however, if you lived in an area known for the dangerous Black Widow spider, then your night would be quite differently. The next day, you may find your nerves almost in a state of shock, unable to breath, or perform regular duties because of the high fever induced quickly. The best form of advice is to get to a hospital as soon as possible to remove the neurotoxin flowing through your bloodstream.

What is a Black Widow Spider?

The Black Widow, a spider based off the family genus "Latrodectus," or a family group containing over thirty one species, it's technical name derived from the venom condition itself, called latrodectism. The name widow is termed as so because of the males sacrifice for the female to feast upon to ensure it's offspring's survival.

The male species of the genus are not poisonous, but the female is very dangerous to humans and can be spotted by a notorious red hourglass raised from the bottom ventral abdomen. To discuss the spiders complete Latrodectus silk strength, one finds that upon examination, that the equivalent of a copper and steel wire, but after equating density of both the wire and silk equivalent, studies find that the silk is much stronger.

These spiders seen from the eastern and western board of the United States, Mexico, The Middle East, China, and Africa. There seems to be a variation of the species that reside in each area, and each has a little difference to their markings, as one is an hourglass, spots, or stripes. The only part of the world where this genus cannot be found is Antarctica, and only because this particular family resides in warm sub-tropical climates, as well as cosmopolitan areas.

After the findings and examinations, an individual must really ask the question, "What am I to do if I see one?". It is very simple to try and avoid these spiders at all costs, but do consider that even though they are poisonous, they will not forcibly follow and attack you. This is because they are afraid of large creatures, but can become confused if your finger touched their web as prey, so just take an effort to be more cautious of your surroundings. The Black Widow is truly a fatal attraction, and if you are found unlucky, she might decide to part her fangs just for you.

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Comments 17 comments

wonderful1 profile image

wonderful1 4 years ago from Southern California

Morbid curiosity made me read this, and it's fascinating. Spiders and sharks give me the creeps. And worst of all: there are black widows all over my neighborhood (even see them in my garage sometimes). I almost fainted just seeing the picture you put up of the big fat one on a person's hand! Yuck!

You've given me my creepy 5 minutes for the day, thanks!


MissDoolittle profile image

MissDoolittle 4 years ago from Sussex, UK

Like wonderful1, snakes, spiders and sharks give me the creeps, yet there is still something pretty amazing about them though. I'm thankful I don't live near anything like that, in the UK, so I am blessed after all :)


Cagsil profile image

Cagsil 4 years ago from USA or America

Very cool hub. I had learned about Black Widow spider early in my life and have no interest in messing with them. Then gain, I don't mess with any spider which I come across. Thank you for sharing. :)


anonymous 4 years ago

Black widow spiders are very dangerous because of their neurotoxin. Thanks for sharing the information. Voted up and useful.


BakerRambles profile image

BakerRambles 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Anonymous, thanks for the vote, I felt like it was needed because more information should be known about the more toxic creatures living among our planet.


BakerRambles profile image

BakerRambles 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks Cagsil, this spider lives in my region, and especially to landscapers and other outdoor workers can be problematic.


BakerRambles profile image

BakerRambles 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I'm not sure if they reside in UK, and yes that's a good thing. I've always liked to watch nat. Geo on those reptiles and insects.


BakerRambles profile image

BakerRambles 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks wonderful1 I appreciate it, even the creepy spider kind of way. They are dangerous but avoidable.


Sueswan 4 years ago

I read that The Black Widow has unfairly earned a bad reputation for wanting to eat her mate. She will only eat her mate when she mistakes him for a meal.

Voted up and interesting.


BakerRambles profile image

BakerRambles 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

It's very true, it's only when there are scare resources. Your right, and thank you.


hazelwood4 profile image

hazelwood4 4 years ago from Owensboro, Kentucky

BakeRambles, I did see a Black Widow once, but thank God it was in a jar at the nature reserve that I visiting at the time. Thank you for sharing this very informative article on this creepy creature!


BakerRambles profile image

BakerRambles 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Oh your welcome hazelwood. This particular poisonous spider is a actually afraid of humans, so unless one were to overly try to disrupt it's feeding process of hiding place, it wouldn't actually attack you.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

i was terrified of black widows when i was child, even though I lived no where near where they reside. They're such fascinating creatures. And icky...


BakerRambles profile image

BakerRambles 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I can agree karaokeguy there are just some species best to avoid if possible.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

spiders in general are not my favorite...


Schatzie Speaks profile image

Schatzie Speaks 4 years ago from US

waking up to a black widow bite would be my biggest nightmare. what an awful, awful thought! luckily, it has ever happened and hopefully never will! thanks for the hub. :)


BakerRambles profile image

BakerRambles 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Oh your completely welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed the graphic yet informational article. I just want everyone to be more aware of the actuality of the spider family.

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