I found this very pretty spider outside on my windowsill. She was guarding an egg sack and her web. So I collected her to take some photos and play with her a while. Such a pretty spider!
She is shiny black with red spots on her back and front, sort of look like hearts, or an hourglass. She looks good, her red spots match the trim on my windowsill. Her web is very complex and three dimensional.
After playing with and photographing this pretty spider, I was mean. I gave her the death penalty for trying to live on my house.
Of course I know who she is, she's Latrodectus mactans, or commonly known as the southern black widow spider. She can inflict a serious bite. The venom of a black widow can actually kill a person in rare instances. Black widows have killed 63 people between 1950 and 1990 in the USA.
Black widow venom is extremely potent, 15 times more potent than that of rattlesnakes, much more potent than the venom of cobras and coral snakes. However, the amount of venom is tiny as is the fang that injects the venom - only one millimeter (less than one half of a tenth of an inch).
So, it is hard to get bit by one and likely not fatal.
Sometimes but rarely, the female spider will eat the male after mating. (Is it a metaphor that I found this spider today?) Female spiders can live five years. Males, not as long.
People bitten often suffer the effects of Latrodectism, the clinical syndrome caused by the neurotoxic venom.
Well, I guess I'll do some spraying this afternoon.