Photo by Melody

Southern Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans)

Order: Araneae (ah-RAY-nee-ee) (Info)
Family: Theridiidae
Genus: Latrodectus (lat-roh-DEK-tus) (Info)
Species: mactans (MAK-tans) (Info)


1 positive
5 neutrals
1 negative


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Meridianville, Alabama
Valley Head, Alabama
Anthem, Arizona
Black Canyon City, Arizona
Kingman, Arizona
Tolleson, Arizona
Fayetteville, Arkansas
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Laguna Hills, California
Monterey, California
Beverly Hills, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Dunnellon, Florida
Lake Worth, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Bethlehem, Georgia
Bowdon, Georgia
Dallas, Georgia
Gainesville, Georgia
Peachtree City, Georgia
Rincon, Georgia
Benton, Kentucky
Marietta, Mississippi
Meridian, Mississippi
Pass Christian, Mississippi
Jonesville, North Carolina
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Union City, Oklahoma
Memphis, Tennessee
Morristown, Tennessee
Hurst, Texas
Lufkin, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Snyder, Texas
Spring, Texas
Tyler, Texas

By ScreaminScott
Thumbnail #1 of Southern Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans) by ScreaminScott

By brignac

Thumbnail #2 of Southern Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans) by brignac

By chicochi3

Thumbnail #3 of Southern Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans) by chicochi3

By chicochi3

Thumbnail #4 of Southern Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans) by chicochi3

By pathdoc60

Thumbnail #5 of Southern Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans) by pathdoc60

By RoxieH

Thumbnail #6 of Southern Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans) by RoxieH

By PhotoFilly16

Thumbnail #7 of Southern Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans) by PhotoFilly16

There are a total of 9 photos.
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Member Notes:

Negative duckmother On Oct 1, 2006, duckmother from North Little Rock, AR
(Zone 7b) wrote:

I was bitten on the face, by a nasty little black widow, while on vacation. I was very ill and swollen! Needless to say, my vacation was not very fun. Oh well, that is what I get for kissing spiders ;o))

Neutral SimbiDlo On Sep 14, 2007, SimbiDlo from Snyder, TX wrote:

I keep several as pets, ( if you keep the container upside down they will spin at the bottom of it so feeding is easier, as they are no here near the top! ) It is dangerous, but Swiss gun scope makers pay big bucks for the web ( it is the thinnest and strongest fiber they can use and it makes the BEST gun scopes ) so I hope one day to be able to sell the webs.

Positive ArgiopesROCK On Sep 10, 2008, ArgiopesROCK wrote:

This elegant creature lives under my basketball pole on my driveway. I was catching grasshoppers for ZZ (read my diary) when I saw a collection of web under it. I looked in close and then a black streak swooshed under the pole. I saw about...120 red babies. I saw an instant later a black widow crawling around the mess of web tending to her young. It was an amazing sight. A threw a grasshopper in there and the babies went wild. The mother tied it up instantly and began hanging with its "arms" off the web and stabbed the grasshopper at least 30 times with its legs. It finally injected it with posion and dragged it. Ants somehow got into it and the whole web of babies were wiped out. Now the Widow stays only in the shadows of the basketball pole water tank. She has a web for bugs that might come too close but not as great as before I messed with her. She has more babies lurking in the darkness but it is just amazing to watch the perfectly round body swoop into action when a beetle comes to close. That hourglass is like....(no words to describe.)

Neutral timmijo On Aug 3, 2010, timmijo from Ellendale, DE
(Zone 7a) wrote:

Can anyone tell me exactly how poisonous the black widow is to human beings? They are prolific in my Delaware yard, requiring me to act as "outdoor" spider police when my kids were young. Now I have eased up somewhat, but I'm still curious about the bite--is it fatal or just bad?

Neutral nutsnberries On Mar 13, 2012, nutsnberries from Jonesville, NC wrote:

These spiders like the shelter of holes in the ground. I don't recommend adding "toad houses," building shelters for toads in your garden if you live where these spiders live. I found Southern Black Widows in two out of three houses. They tried to hide when I lifted the lids. . .

Neutral PTCGAZ On Apr 4, 2013, PTCGAZ from Black Canyon City, AZ wrote:

I have had these around for many years, they are harmless unless you interfere with a nesting female. The males have less potent venom. As for the venom, it really depends how much is injected.

Neutral sallyg On Sep 21, 2013, sallyg from Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b) wrote:

I've had dozens of black widows around our house for years. They seem to like a hot (sun warmed) place, near the ground. Their web is usually not very big or extensive. And it feels very, very strong when you touch the strands. And their egg masses have a certain look too.
Once you've had some, you start to get a feel for them, so to speak!

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