The animal phylum Arthropoda includes spiders, as well as other insects and their close relatives. Spiders, along with ticks, mites, scorpions, and other animals with two major body regions and eight legs but no antennae or wings are divided into a separate group called the Arachnida (scientific class).
Spiders have traditionally been seen as creeping, slithering, disgusting, and venomous creatures throughout recorded history. These feelings are influenced by folklore, myths, superstition, and the spiders’ strange appearance.
Many people believe that spiders are poisonous in folklore. The truth is that all spiders have venom glands that empty via tiny apertures near the ends of their fangs, with the exception of two extremely tiny families.
Spider venoms, on the other hand, are not harmful to humans or other animals, with the exception of a few spiders that bite people.
Spiders help to keep insect and some other arthropod pest populations in check by being important predators. The few spiders that do bite people pose a minimal danger in comparison to the significant benefit they provide.
Arachnophobia is a type of phobia that affects certain people. People believe spiders are aggressive and will assault humans without notice, which is one of the reasons they fear them.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. The funnel-web spider of Australia, Atrax robustus, is the only spider in the world that is considered aggressive. It is said to attack without warning.
Unless it is cornered, injured, or otherwise provoked, no other spider is overly aggressive. Several North American spiders will indeed rush over to investigate any disturbance, as shown in the video.
Several spider species use webs to trap other creatures for food, hence this is a normal hunting response.
It is a common misconception that known dangerous spiders’ bites always result in a serious or even fatal illness. Fatalities from spider bites are uncommon, and the bite may have minor to severe symptoms. The reality is that spiders can be deadly.
Many factors influence the severity of a spider Venom reaction. Depending on the location of the bite, how long the fangs are in the tissues, and how much venom is injected, the quantity of venom administered may range from near none to a full dose.
Additionally, since age, the victim’s general condition of health, and genetic differences would all likely impact the severity of response, the reaction of different people to the same sort and quantity of venom might vary substantially.
People should avoid the brown recluse and black widow. Tarantulas, jumping spiders, wolf spiders, garden spiders, and other species identified in the state are frequently misidentified as venomous spiders.
Most people’s bites are less harmful than a bee sting, even if these spiders may be formidable, frightening, or disgusting.
What Does the Brown Widow Spider Look Like?
The brown widow is a spider that is somewhat smaller than the black widow, which ranges in size from medium to big. It has a variety of hues, including dark grey, brown, and black.
The legs and dorsal (top) side feature a striped pattern, while the ventral (bottom) side features brown mottling. It has an hourglass shape on its abdomen, much like the black widow.
The coloring, however, is generally vivid orange or yellowish rather than red.
Look for the spider’s characteristic egg sac if you can’t identify it by its markings. The egg sac of this spider is suspended in a network of webs.
The sac has a brown coloration and pointed projections on its surface, which makes it resemble a sandspur. Tufted, fluffy, and spikey are all words used to describe the egg sacs.
This spider doesn’t build funnel webs or symmetrical webs when it comes to its web. The brown widow, like other widows, creates tangled, untidy webs in dark areas and corners.
Life Cycle and Habits
In safe, dark positions where the spiders dwell, the eggs are deposited in off-white silk sacks. The sizes range from a quarter-inch to a third-inch. Spiderlings emerge from egg cases in 24 to 36 days during the summer. Each egg case produces forty or more spiderlings.
The spiderlings, on the other hand, molt once before leaving the egg case and then abandon it. Weather conditions and the availability of food affect development, which is comparatively slow.
The brown recluse spider, on the other hand, may take up to 12 months to reach maturity if it has enough food and mild temperatures.
Without food or water, spiders may live for extended periods of time. Some female spiders may survive up to two years, while others can live up to five years. One to five egg sacs are created during her lifetime.
How to identify (and misidentify) Brown Widow
The brown widow spider, Latrodectus geometricus, is not native to North America.
It was only found in the United States’ peninsular Florida for decades. Nevertheless, it expanded dramatically in the first decade of the twenty-first century, from Texas to South Carolina and is now well established in Los Angeles, San Diego, and surrounding suburbs.
This spider’s identification in the western United States may be challenging. A tan spider with white stripes, the brown widow is a common sight. Unfortunately, immature Latrodectus hesperus spiders are also brown with white stripes and are frequently mistaken for brown widows.
With both of these species as they progress from infancy to adulthood, there is a tremendous range. Many specimens must be examined in order to identify them.
The two species are shown in a pictorial illustration, along with ways to tell them apart. The genus Neoscona and Araneus orb weavers are frequently submitted by many people.
Spines on the legs of orb weavers, but none on widow spiders. To reduce the risk of identification, please check the internet for orb weavers.
Where the problem comes in
When the spiders are approximately halfway developed, the difficulty of distinguishing mature brown widows from young western black widows arises. Western black widows vary significantly, while brown widows vary somewhat.
The black dots on the spiders’ abdomen are the key to correctly identifying the two species. The central longitudinal stripe on the top part of the abdomen may be of secondary usefulness in species identification.
The background colors and stripes on the abdomen of both spider species shift darker as they get bigger.
These spiders may seem to be very similar at first glance. The lateral diagonal stripes on the abdomen, however, must be paid attention to. A brown widow’s finger looks to be protruding upward and holding a huge black rectangular blotch, similar to the way it appears in the brown widow.
The light colored stripe is more of a straight line or has been flattened at the top in comparison to the immature western black widow. The tiny and fuzzy black mark at the light colored line’s top, however, is significant.
The longitudinal stripe is the next thing to examine. It only goes halfway up the brown widow’s backside in the abdomen. The stripe runs almost the length of the western black widow’s abdomen.
Also, the brown widow’s forwardmost dot is roughly twice as wide as long, and it stands out from the rest of the stripe. The stripe (at least in the early stages of life) is connected to the same location as the dot on an immature western black widow.
As the spider continues to molt and add darker pigment on its way to becoming completely black, the stripes break up into nebulous isolated patches and finally disappear as the spider becomes older.
In the centre of the longitudinal abdominal stripe, there is sometimes a vivid orange or red stripe. As the spider matures, this will likewise fade and become thinner.
The longitudinal stripe of the brown widow might be orange, although it will never be vivid red. To demonstrate the tremendous difference in each species as they grow, look at the photographs below of brown widows and black widows.
Realize that it takes a great deal of practice and looking at numerous specimens to differentiate the two species. From nearly white to nearly as dark as a black widow, brown widows may range in color.
Where Does the Brown Widow Spider Live?
The brown widow spider was first seen in the United States in 1935 and is native to South Africa. Previously, the brown widow’s range in the United States was restricted to the southeastern states, but it has recently expanded to include western states such as southern California.
The following are the states where these spiders may be found:
The recently arrived spider may be displacing black widows in southern California, a region with tropical and subtropical climates that brown widows favor.
The brown widow seems to be more aggressive than the black widow, according to a 2012 research performed by the University of California, Riverside.
Humans are in good position, as this spider injects less venom into its victim than the black widow.
It’s vital to recognize where these widows prefer to spin their webs if you live in one of the states where they may be found. They will most likely settle in the following locations since they like dark recesses:
-Dark corners and high shelves.
-Outhouses and sheds.
-Stationary garbage cans.
-Old clothes, towels, linens, and shoes.
Wear gloves and/or clean the area thoroughly with a vacuum or broom if you must reach into one of these places.
When it comes out at night in search of food, the spider is most active. It rests quietly and peacefully throughout the day. Spiders may be found in bathrooms, bedrooms, closets, basements, cellars, and attics in homes.
Spiders can be discovered in old garments, shoes, behind pictures, in storage boxes, on the underside of tables and chairs, behind baseboards and floor facings, or in corners and recesses.
Spiders may be found in barns, storage sheds, and garages as well as outdoors beneath rocks and bark. Shed skins in and around houses might be a sign of infestation.
Effects of the Bite
The brown recluse spider is calm and only bite unless you press on it. When people put on clothing or shoes that a spider is hiding in, when they roll over on a spider in bed, or when they clean a storage area that the spider is occupying, spiders are frequently bitten.
Bite reactions vary greatly; some people feel it for two or three hours before they are aware of it, while others experience an severe painful reaction.
The onset of a stinging sensation is usually followed by severe pain. A little puss-filled blister develops within eight hours, and a huge region surrounding the bite becomes red and swollen. The victim may be restless, have a fever, and find it difficult to sleep.
The skin region around the bite stays red and hard to touch for some time after the local pain is typically quite severe.
The cytotoxic venom kills the tissue it comes into contact with and sloughs away, allowing the underlying muscle to be seen. To restore severe injury, skin grafts are commonly required.
Healing takes six to eight weeks and is done gradually. A bite might result in a sunken scar ranging from the size of a penny to a half-dollar if medical attention is not sought immediately.
The victim should seek medical attention as soon as possible after being bitten, and the spider that caused the bite should be captured for identification if feasible.
Because no specific antivenom is yet available, local and systemic symptoms have been treated symptomatically until an antivenom can be administered.
While corticosteroids may help treat hemolysis and other systemic illnesses, they should only be administered by a doctor since they are considered specific.