Black widow Facts

Black widow Facts
Black widow is a type of spider. There are 31 species of black widows that can be found in temperate regions around the world. Black widows live close to the ground. They can be found in the underground tunnels, dense vegetation or in the dark and dry places such as barns, garages and basements. Black widows are widespread and abundant in the wild. These spiders are not on the list of endangered species.
Interesting Black widow Facts:
Size of black widow depends on the gender. Females can reach 1.5 inches in length and 0.035 ounces of weight. Males are two times smaller.
Females have shiny black body and hourglass-shaped, red marking on the belly. Males are lighter in color and have pink or red spots on their backs.
Black widow exposes red marking on its belly to inform predators that it is toxic and dangerous.
Body of black widow is composed of cephalothorax and abdomen (two body segments) and four pairs of legs. Last pair is covered with stiff hairs that look like a comb.
Black widow is the most poisonous spider in the North America. It produces toxin that is 15 times stronger than the venom of rattlesnake.
Black widow attacks humans only when it is threatened. People rarely die after bite, but they experience nausea, abdominal and muscle pain, sweating, hypertension and difficult breathing. These symptoms may last from 8 hours to few days. Luckily, antivenom (which prevents all these negative effects) is available in most hospitals.
Black widow is nocturnal creature (active during the night).
Black widow produces the strongest silk in the world of spiders. Shape of the web is not very pretty, but it is durable. Web is designed to catch flies, mosquitoes, moths, beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers and other spiders - major source of food.
Black widow silently waits for the prey in the upside-down position. Once the prey is in the web, spider uses comb-like feet to wrap it into the silk. Like all other spiders, black widows do not chew their prey. They inject digestive fluids into the victim and consume (better say drink) already digested (liquefied) meal.
Wasps, praying mantis and birds are natural enemies of black widows.
Black widows are solitary creatures, except during the mating season which takes place during the spring.
Female lays 200 to 900 eggs in the sac (called cocoon). Eggs hatch after 30 days.
Female often kills and eats her partner after mating, hence the name - black widow. Scientists believe that males represent excellent source of proteins required for the successful development of eggs.
Hatchlings often feed on each other (phenomenon known as cannibalism). Only few babies survive to the age of 3 months and reach adulthood.
Lifespan of black widow depends on the gender. Males live from one to 4 months, females up to 3 years.

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