Not everyone enjoys spiders, particularly ones with as much notoriety as black widows. It’s possible that baby black widows will make you reconsider. The fascinating information and images about these misunderstood arachnids that follow may help allay your natural dread of them. You might, at the very least, see these animals from a different angle. Beware, arachnophobes!
1. Baby black widows are not black
If you are looking for the telltale sleek black hue and red hourglass on their belly, you cannot easily identify young black widows. Actually, only adult females will have this appearance. Brown people typically date black widow men. Additionally, a black widow spider’s markings might differ depending on its species! The black widow spider is found in five different species in North America. Only the Southern black widow, or Latrodectus mactans, is known to possess the fabled red hourglass. Although there are more than thirty species worldwide, this is the most prevalent species in North America.
White, orange, or brown young black widow spiderlings are possible. During their early years, they molt several times, each time adding more color. Up to nine molts are possible for females before they reach adulthood.
2. Babies stay in their cocoon for up to one month
Typically, egg sacs are laid in the late spring or early summer. It takes a black widow up to thirty days after she lays her eggs—which can contain up to 300 eggs in a single egg sac—for the spiderlings to begin hatching. Until her young hatch, the mother spider will defend the egg sac from other predators and other spiders.
The spiderlings may stay on the web for a few days after hatching before moving on to spin their own webs. Even though they are not fully developed when they leave, they can make a web to hold and eat prey until the next spring, when they will be old enough to mate. While adult male black widows seldom survive over a year and frequently pass away after mating, adult female black widows can live up to three years.
3. Spiderlings do something called “ballooning”
Hatchlings will engage in a behavior known as “ballooning” when they are prepared to leave the nest. In order to transport silk to other areas where they can open shops, they must spin it into the air. The term “ballooning” refers to the fact that the spiders appear as though they are affixed to balloons that are soaring through the atmosphere. It may appear that the spiders are flying, however black widows are not the only ones that go through this process. This method is used by a good number of other spiders to “fly.”
The spiderlings will spin a web once they have found a new location so they can feed themselves. They can lessen sibling food competition by doing this. They will likewise hibernate in this web until the following spring, when they can complete their development.
4. Juvenile black widows are not dangerous
They are not particularly interested in people, despite the fact that seeing a black widow—let alone an egg sac or dozens of black widow spiderlings—is undoubtedly unnerving. The period of time when a black widow is guarding her nest is the riskiest for humans to be around one. In other cases, bites would occur accidentally—for instance, when a spider gets startled by moving logs or other locations where it is hiding.
Both male adult black widows and their babies are incapable of biting people. Adult females are the only ones that can venomate and bite people, hence they should generally be avoided. It makes sense, though, if you’d rather not take the chance of waiting for the young to grow up before determining if they’re male or female. Many advise vacuuming the eggs in order to eliminate the potential offspring and keep a safe distance from the mother. This approach is still potentially hazardous, though. It would be best to leave the spiders alone if they are not affecting you in that particular region. Ultimately, spiders, including black widows, are excellent in controlling pests!
5. Young black widows are cannibalistic
Juveniles of black widows are born with a feeling for eating their own, despite the common belief that they devour their spouses immediately after mating. Thankfully, the mothers do not abandon their offspring. Regretfully, her children cannot say the same. Roughly one in every twelve of the hundreds of eggs in a sac will make it to adulthood. Juveniles will sometimes eat their siblings for additional nutrition, while adult females will occasionally eat their spouse to assist provide them with the nutrients needed to lay eggs. In both situations, it’s for survival.