Common Name: Black Widow

Scientific Name: Latrodectus mactans

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Arachnida

Order: Aranae

Family: Theridiidae

Genus: Latrodectus

Species: L. mactans


The black widow, also known as the button spider in regions all over the world is notorious for its toxic venom. Female black widows can grow up to one and a half inches. On the other hand male widows are normally half the size of a female. The color of this vicious arthropod is obviously black as the name clearly states, but it does contain a red spot on its abdomen. Some adaptations of the black widow are its long legs for running quick and good eyesight for hunting and paralyzing prey. Some identifying characteristics of the black widow are the red hourglass on its abdomen and the fact that it is all black. The black widow adapts best to in urban, rural, and forest environments. One thing they perform well in those environments is spinning webs to catch prey or to avoid predators. Black widows are found in mostly Northern and Southern America. But some are known to be seen in Northern Europe.


Black widows play the role of predator and prey in the food web. Their competition for survival and food are other spiders or larger animals in that environment. The thing that allows widows to compete for food is that in their environment there are other spiders that can eat them or get their prey. My animal is prey to various animals in the kingdom of animalia. Some predators to the black widow are birds and other spiders. The black widow evades being eaten by spinning webs and capturing or making the predators stuck in the web. Another way they avoid being eaten is by simply running away or hiding. One fact that really stood out from the others was that the black widow has a red hourglass on its abdomen that warns predators that it is poisonous. Lastly, the most interesting part of the black widow is that it is found in both North and South America.


Author: Harwant K

Published: 03/2008


Sources: ectus_mactans.html

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