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Black widows are identified by red hourglass markings on the underside of their abdomens. Black widows are shiny black in color. Females are larger than males and can measure up to 10 millimeters in length. These spiders are members of the genus Latrodectus.
Black widow spiders favor dark, secluded areas such as crevices and woodpiles. They thrive primarily in temperate zones and are known to live in the American South. They may also be found in locations as remote as Canada.
Five species of Latrodectus or “widow” spiders are present in North America. The most common is the southern widow, or Latrodectus mactans, and is found in the American South and Northeast. The Latrodectus Hesperus is more populous in the west and the Latrodectus variolus, or northern widow, is found more commonly in the American Northeast. There are two species that are primarily found in Florida. These are the “red widow” or Latrodectus bishopi and the “brown widow” or Latrodectus geometricus.