Weekly Puzzler #87

I almost used in honor of Halloween, but chose the bat puzzler instead. But check out this photo of a spider. Do you recognize it?

I bet you know it is a black widow spider. I took it in a small town in Colorado called Nederland. Years ago I worked at a nature center there and one day a woman brought it in, having found it in her yard. She didn’t want it there, but neither did she want to kill it. I happily found a safe place to release the female spider and took some pictures before I bid farewell. This is the ONLY TIME I have ever seen a Black Widow–even though I spend  A LOT of time outside.

widow-007Have you heard that black widow females devour their mates after mating? Do you think this is true?

This week’s puzzler is: Do female black widows always eat the male after mating? Yes or no. Check back next weekend to see if your guess was correct. Have you ever seen one? If so, where? As always, I’d love to hear from you! Use the comment box to send me a note.

This entry was posted in Animals, Insects, Spiders and other Invertebrates, Weekly Puzzler and tagged , , , , , .


  1. Megan November 14, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

    I’ve seen them often in California and Texas, usually in the landscaping around homes and in crawlspaces underneath them. There is also a lesser known Brown Widow that I’ve seen in Texas, Latrodectus geometricus. They’re very similar in appearance to the black widow, just brown instead.

    • Sharon Mammoser November 15, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

      Hey Megan, thanks for commenting. Yes, there are brown widows too. They live in the southern US and like black widows, have a red hourglass on their abdomens. I have never seen one in person, only in pictures. Their egg sac is cool–it’s like a miniature 3-d star–light colored with pointy projections that go all around it. The venom of a brown widow is less potent that a black widow and when a bite occurs, little venom is injected.