Black Widow Spider
In general, the Black Widow male species are smaller than its female counterparts. The males can grow to only ¼ inch even in maturity, while the female species can grow up to 1.5 inches. The lifespan of male species is also shorter than the females. The males can live up to 2 months while the females can live up to three years. This is because, the males are eventually killed by the female after mating; thus, they are also called mourning spiders. The female can lay 300 to 400 eggs per birth. When hatched, only a handful survive because they eat each other.
Black Widows prefer dark areas where they can freely spin their webs to catch their prey. In the natural surroundings, they can be found in the middle of the forests, on top of high trees and in caves. They also prefer dry surroundings. In Nebraska, there are sightings in drain pipes, rocky areas and several households especially in basements and attics.
The main diet of a female black widow spider consists of her mates. Yes, she eventually eats them after mating. Both male and female species prey on a variety of insects including flies, mosquitoes, moths, woodlice, diplopods and chilopods. They trap their prey by secreting venom and wait for ten minutes for the poison to weaken or kill the insect to be eaten. They secrete digestive enzymes all over the body of its prey to break it down for easy consuming.
Threat to Humans
Due to its very powerful venom, the black widow spider is a considerable threat to humans, especially when several of them are found inhabiting a home or place of business. In Nebraska alone, there have been alarming incidents of widow bites especially in workplaces where there are large store rooms and warehouses.
The venom of Black Widow is considered more powerful than the venom of some rattlesnakes. Their venom can cause high fever, nausea and vomiting. Some say that their bites can be fatal to humans. Although, there is relatively low statistics to support that fact.
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