WHAT IS A BLACK WIDOW SPIDER?




Black widows are notorious spiders identified by the coloured, hourglass-shaped mark on their abdomens.

Black widow spiders are found within the family Theridiidae, which contains 32 recognized species.

The common name, widow spiders is due to the rather morbid behaviour seen in some of the species where the female eats the male after mating.

Several species answer to the name, and they are found in temperate regions around the world. This spider's bite is much feared because its venom is reported to be 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake's.

Black widows are solitary year-round except during this violent mating ritual. These spiders spin large webs in which females suspend a cocoon with hundreds of eggs. Spiderlings disperse soon after they leave their eggs, but the web remains.

Black widow spiders also use their webs to ensnare their prey, which consists of flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars.

Black widows are comb-footed spiders, which means they have bristles on their hind legs that they use to cover their prey with silk once it has been trapped.

 To feed, black widows puncture their insect prey with their fangs and administer digestive enzymes to the corpses. By using these enzymes, and their gnashing fangs, the spiders liquefy their prey's bodies and suck up the resulting fluid.

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