I had passed this
spider's web, high on the garage door, many times. I had assumed
that it was just another black widow. After a question from a friend
drew my attention to brown widow spiders, I took a closer look. They
are poisonous like the black widow.
When working near small dark places
in the garage,
under the house, around the wood pile, I make it a practice to never
put a finger any place I can't see into. Especially if there are
shapeless webs in the vicinity. Bites need immediate treatment
even if they don't hurt at first.
When threatened, the brown widow dropped
out of her nest, and assumed this defensive posture. She is playing
possum. By putting her in this jar I could safely get clearer pictures
to show her color.
the brown widow is in her nest. There is a very tough sheet of web
across the front of it. In the shadows this spider looks black. Notice
the peculiar texture of the egg sacs. This is enough to identify the
spider as a brown widow.
This is a male brown
widow spider in the nest of the female. Brown widows were introduced
into Southern California from the tropics.
This is brown
widow spider with lighter color, showing the markings on her
abdomen. This spider from the tropics was first reported in
southern California in 2003. Now, in 2008, it looks like the
brown widow may actually be replacing the native black widow.
[Arthropods] [Animals] [Back Yard Biology] [Science Can Be Fun]