These unusual little arachnids, which look something like tiny scorpions but with a rounded (and nonvenomous) hind end, are often overlooked but are filled with biological curiosity. Learn more about these helpful animals.
The glossy, black-bodied female widows have distinctive red spots on the underside of their abdomens. In L. mactans this spot often is shaped like an hourglass; in L. variolus it is not. Faint red or white spots may also appear on top of the abdomen, as they do in males. Only the sedentary female black widow is capable of inflicting a potentially dangerous bite; the wandering and seldom-seen male is harmless.
MDC protects and manages Missouri's fish, forest, and wildlife resources. We also facilitate your participation in resource-management activities, and we provide opportunities for you to use, enjoy and learn about nature. Read more about our mission.