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Brown Widow Spider
Latrodectus geometricus

Brown Widow Spider, Latrodectus geometricusI 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.

Brown Widow Spider, Latrodectus geometricusWhen 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.

Brown Widow Spider, Latrodectus geometricusHere 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.

Brown Widow Spider, Latrodectus geometricusThis is a male brown widow spider in the nest of the female. Brown widows were introduced into Southern California from the tropics.

Brown Widow Spider, Latrodectus geometricusThis 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.

[Taxonomy: Classification]

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