Brown Widow Spider

Latrodectus geometricus is also known as the brown widow because it is brown and because all widow spiders are mistakenly thought to eat the male after mating. The spider is well known in the United States, Australia, and South Africa. During the nineties the brown widow seemed to have spread throughout Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

The primary reason for this is probably the milder winters in the U.S.during the last few years, which gives them more insects to feed on. Another factor increasing its presence is transportation by vehicles.


The markings on a brown widow are not as apparent as on those more darkly colored. The female can get as big as 16 mm in length, while the male is much shorter. It is very timid of animals, and they are nocturnal and active in their web—not elsewhere.

The brown widow varies from light tan to dark brown or almost black. It has markings of black, white, orange, and brown on the back of its abdomens.

The hourglass of the brown widow is orange to yellow in color and can always be differentiated from other spiders with red hourglasses.

Consequences of a Bite From a Brown Widow Spider

A bite from a brown widow does require urgent medical treatment. In a lot of cases, a bite from a brown widow will only cause pain because of the bite in itself; in other cases, a red marking will occur at the site of a bite.

A brown widow spider on a piece of wood

But only one out of twenty bites causes death. Most die after severe pain and respiratory failure (children) or heart failure (adults). The spider is not aggressive and will retreat when disturbed, and most bites occur when it is accidentally pressed against the skin of a person.

Brown widow spiders do not attack without reason. The venom from a brown widow is about twice as potent as venom from a black widow.

The LifeCycle of the Brown Widow

The egg sac of a brown widow is covered with projections, unlike the egg sac of other widows. This is also a way to differentiate this widow from others.

The males are quite suicidal in their mating behavior. Having been accepted as a mate, the female widow mauls the male's abdomen with her fangs.

A brown widow spider between two fingers height=

The lifecycle of the brown widow spider is quite the same as most other widow spiders. After laying 200-300 eggs in an egg sac, spiderlings emerge from the egg sacs after approximately 3-8 weeks. The hatching occurs after three weeks, and the juveniles remain in the egg sac for some time depending on weather conditions, etc. When out of the egg sac, the young spiders molt to their second stage and begin feeding. The spiders molt from three to eight times before reaching adulthood. Female brown widows must molt six to eight times before they are fully grown. The brown widow breeds all year round in some areas of the United States.

Related Sites on the Internet About Brown Widow Spiders

This site will give you more information about the brown widow spider

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