Can Black Widow Spiders Be Brown?

A brown widow spider is a theridiid spider that originated in South America, but has spread to the Caribbean Islands, Hawaii, Japan, parts of Australia, and Europe. Its name may be derived from the secretive nature of the spider.

This spider builds its web in protected, secluded, woody vegetation. In some areas, the brown widow is also found in outdoor furniture and under roof eaves.

The brown widow is the only theridiid spider with the ability to bite vertebrates. They have a distinctive hourglass-shaped spot on the underside of the abdomen.

Male brown widows are slightly smaller than females. Both molt several times before reaching maturity. Females can live to two years.

Brown widow spiders lay between twenty and one hundred and twenty egg sacs in their lifetime. Each sac is approximately half an inch in diameter. These egg sacs are attached to the female spider’s web.

The egg sacs are usually white or tan in color. Some have been described as looking like a large pollen grain.

When disturbed, the female brown widow spider retracts her legs and feigns death. Usually she will then return to her nest.

As a precaution, never handle the spider unless you are wearing gloves. Even if you are not bitten, a bite from a brown widow can be painful.

To avoid being bitten by a black widow, do not go into dark, unlit areas. Store items in plastic bags to prevent contact. Wear a long-sleeved shirt when working in a spider infested area.