What do black widow spiders look like?
- Size: 1 1/2-inches long
- Color: Female adults are black and shiny with a red hourglass marking on the abdomen; male adults are lighter black or gray in color and feature red and white streaks on the abdomen.
- Body Structure: Females feature rounded, globe-like abdomens; males feature smaller abdomens, yet have noticeably larger biting appendages, or pedipalps, than females.
Characteristics of black widow spiders
After mating, females may consume the male as nourishment needed to fertilize her eggs. Eggs are laid in silken, cup-like sacs and are vehemently protected by the female during the gestation period, which can last from 10 days to 1 month. Females can create anywhere from 5 to more than a dozen sacs, each containing up to 750 eggs. Upon hatching, the young spiders are cannibalistic, killing and eating other hatchlings to survive. Only a small number of the young spiders survive and develop into adults. The transformation into adulthood takes 2-3 months. The average lifespan of a black widow spider is 1 year.
When are black widow spiders most active?
How are black widow spider webs formed?
Black widow spider webs build irregular webs made from strong threads. Although they appear a tangled mess, black widow spiders do this intentionally.
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