Black widow spiders are very venomous and can cause extreme pain or sickness if you are bitten by one. These spiders live throughout the United States and typically in warmer regions of the world.With the possibility of encounteringsuch a dangerous species, it’s useful to know how to identify them. While the adult females are the only ones with large enough fangs to bite humans, seeing young or male black widows will typically indicate a female black widow is nearby.
In addition to knowing what black widows look like, it is also important to identify other spiders that look like black widows. For example, most spiders in the Genus Steatodaare known as “false black widow spiders” because of their similarity in appearance. Understanding the difference between these spider species can help you take appropriate actions, especially if you are bitten.
This article will cover how to identify black widows and more information on 8 species that look similar to them.
8 Spiders That Look Like Black Widows
While black widows are venomous with painful bites, not all the spiders on this list that look like them are harmful to humans. Let’s learn more about the spiders living in Northern America that look like black widows.
1. Cupboard Spider
Scientific name:Steatoda grossa
The Cupboard spider is from the same familyTheridiidae as the black widow spiders and is known as one of the false widow species. They build similar irregular webs and females are most commonly mistaken for black widows. Female cupboard spidershave similar large body shapes and are typically black. However, they aren’t as glossy as black widows and don’t have the red hourglass marks on their abdomen. Sometimes these spiders are also more of a dark purple.
FemaleCupboard spidersare typically 0.25 to 0.4 inches in body size and males are smaller. Males also have an elongated abdomen and are often lighter in color. These spiders only bite if they feel trapped or attacked, so never touch their cobwebs with your hands. Their bites are not as severe as the black widow but can be painful and lead to blisters around the bite area.
Although more common in California and the east coast, Cupboardspiders have spread throughout the U.S. You can now find them in every state, including Alaska and Hawaii.
2. Noble False Widow
Scientific name:Steatoda nobilis
Although the Noble false widow spider is more common in the U.K. than in the U.S., you can find this species in California. It is the largest of the false widow species, typically growing between 0.33 to 0.43 inches. Some females can grow up to 0.53 inches.
The Noble false widow has irregular, messy webs similar to black widows. They also have large bulbous abdomens. However, their coloring is more brown than black and typically has cream markings without red spots or an hourglass pattern.
These spiders have venomous bites, but they are not as severe as the black widow. The pain is similar to a wasp sting and usually lasts between 1 to 12 hours. However, you should make sure to keep the wound clean to prevent any bacterial infection.
3. Rabbit Hutch Spider
Scientific name:Steatoda bipunctata
The Rabbit hutch spider is the third species of false widow spider. However, their bite is not harmful to humans. They rarely bite humans, so there is little information available regarding the severity of their bites. Some reports have people equating it to a bee sting.
These spiders are the smallest of the false widows, with females growing to around 0.3 inches. Their body shape is similar to black widows and they are sometimes black but lackthe red hourglass marking. They can also be brown with a light, thin stripe curved along the middle of their abdomen.
You can find these spiders throughout the U.S., including in Alaska and Hawaii. As their name suggests, they often make a home in rabbit hutches. However, you can also find them in dry rooms, gardens, bushes, wall crevices, and under stones.
4. Triangulate Cobweb Spider
Scientific name:Steatoda Triangulosa
The Triangulate cobweb spider gets its name from the triangulate mark on its abdomen. This mark combined with its brownish-black color can make it easily mistaken for a black widow, especially a male or young female.
You can find these spiders throughout North America. Oftentimes they hang outin dark corners of your house on irregular webs, including in basements, outbuildings, and garages.They grow around 0.25 inches in body size. Their bite is also not harmless to humans, with rare reportings of people being bitten by them.
5. Barn Funnel Weaver
Scientific name:Tegenaria domestica
The Barn funnel weaver is found in 19 states in the U.S., including Colorado, New York, Hawaii, Utah, Washington, and Missouri. They also exist in Europe, where they are commonly referred to as the Domestic house spider. Although not black like the female black widow, their typical brown and tan coloring and markings make them look similar to male and young female black widows.
These spiders rarely bite humans and are not venomous to us. However, a bite from a barn funnel weaver might cause redness, swelling, or some itching. Female Barn funnel weavers are larger than males, growing around 0.3 to 0.45 inches in length. Males will grow between 0.24 and 0.35 inches in length.
6. Red-Spotted Ant Mimic Spider
Scientific name:Castianeira Descripta
The Red-spotted ant mimic spider is easily mistaken with the black widow because they are black, hairless, and have red markings on their abdomen. However, these spiders have the mark on the top, and it’s typically a thick curved band down the middle with a white line. Unlike the black widow, their bite is not harmless to humans and more similar to a bee sting.
This spider is a hunting spider. Meaning it doesn’t build webs to catch prey, but instead wanders around for prey. They prefer ants and get their name from the behavior they doto mimic ants. Theywill walk on their back six legs and raise their front pair like antennae, so ants and insects think they aren’t dangerous.
You can find them throughout North America, near woods, shrubs, stones, and parks. They are around 0.5 inches long, with females larger than males.
7. Brown Widow
Scientific name:Latrodectus geometricus
Although still a venomous widow spider species, the Brown widow bite is less painful than black widows. It can be easy to confuse the two species when they are young since they look very similar. Adult female Brown widow spiders are dark brown and tan with a reddish hourglass mark that is duller compared to the bright red mark of the black widow.
This spider also looks similar to the triangulate cobweb spider, which is significantly less venomous. One way to identify the brown widow is by looking at their egg sac. The Brown widow’s egg sacs are tufted or spikey.
You can find these spiders in California, Hawaii, and warm southern states from Florida to South Carolina. Females grow around 0.5 inches in body size and have a leg span of up to 2 inches long. Males are typically smaller.
8. Red Widow
Scientific name:Latrodectus bishop
Although the adult female Red widow spider has the same large, rounded black abdomen with red markings as the black widow, these spiders are not black widows. Their legs are typically reddish or orange and their underbellies don’t have a complete hourglass. Instead, they have red triangular-looking marks. Females can grow around 0.5 inches in body size, with males much smaller.
You can typically find these spiders in southern and central Florida. They prefer dry sand dunes and sand pines, so they generally don’t interact with humans. Although highly venomous, there are limited reports of people being bitten by them. Their venom also contains aneurotoxinthat causes muscle spasms.
How to Identify Black Widows
Before looking at spiders similar to black widows, let’s explore the key ways to identify the black widow. The three main species of true black widows found throughout the United States are:
- Northern black widow (Latrodectus variolus)
- Southern black widow (Latrodectus mactans)
- Western black widow (Latrodectus Hesperus)
Color and Markings
Females are shiny black and have a characteristic bright red hourglass mark on the bottom of their abdomens. This mark looks like two triangles that connect or are separated by a black stripe. They can also have 4 red or yellowish-orange spots on top of their abdomen.
Males and young black widows are typically white and tan, with reddish-brown legs. They may have patterns, such as stripes, on their abdomen or red dots.
Most black widows grow around 0.25 inches long. However, females are typically bigger, growing up to 0.5 inches long, excluding their legs. The female’s abdomen is large and round like a blown-up ball. In contrast, the male abdomen doesn’t enlarge as much and is slightly more elongated.
A black widow spider will have irregular, messy webs near ground level. They usually spin their webs under ledges such as woodpiles or lawn furniture. These spiders will also spin spherical egg sacs.
What looks like a black widow? ›
The false widow spiders (Steatoda spp.) form a group of species that, because of their general resemblance to the much more notorious black widow spiders (Latrodectus spp.), can cause concern when found in the UK. Although they resemble black widow spiders, they are not as harmful.How big is the false widow spider? ›
The noble false widow spider looks similar to the black widow spider, hence the name. It has a striking bulbous abdomen which is brownish in colour, usually with distinctive cream markings and reddish-orange legs. Females can grow to 15mm, or 32mm, including the legs.What's the difference between false widow and black widow? ›
The false widow has some similarities to its more famous cousin, the black widow spider, but is clearly identifiable as it has cream markings on its abdomen (rather than red), and its legs and body are a browny-orange colour (rather than black).Is there a false black widow spider? ›
The false black widow is a comb-clawed spider that is often confused with the true black widow. It can be found both indoors and outdoors and they are more active during warmer months.Are 8 legged spiders poisonous? ›
The eight-legged beasts boast a menacing appearance, and some pack a deadly, poisonous bite. Spiders form the largest part of the arachnid family, with about 40,000 different species of spiders crawling the planet. And about a dozen of these species are deadly enough to kill a human.Are false black widow spiders poisonous? ›
Where do false widows live? You can recognise the webs of false widow spiders as a tangle of criss-cross scaffold threads, which may become dense in the centre. Noble false widows are found in houses and their numbers have been reported as increasing across the country in recent decades.Where do false widows live? ›
Noble false widows are not native to the UK, but are thought to have arrived from the Canary Islands in banana boxes in the late 1800s. Populations became established along the south coast and have since spread north, likely aided in their expansion by global warming. The other two species are both native to the UK.Should you get rid of false widow spiders? ›
'So next time you find an unwanted spider in your house, please don't kill it! Either leave it in peace, or humanely put it out in your shed. ' False widows can live in relative harmony with us - they're even tidy houseguests, helping to keep the place clear of flying insects and other pesky invertebrates.How do I get rid of false widow spiders in my house? ›
If you want to get rid of the spiders in the house, you need to clean it thoroughly. Remove the webs and any dead spiders, as well as eggs and young ones. You can do this by using a vacuum or other device that will suck up the webs. You can also use insecticidal sprays to control the spiders and their prey.
What's a radioactive spider? ›
What if a Radioactive Spider Bites You? - YouTubeHow do you get rid of false black widows? ›
If you want to get rid of the spiders, a thorough vacuum clean of the affected area will remove the webs and spiders from your house. If this isn't possible, control may be accomplished by the removal of prey. This may involve the use of insecticidal sprays to control prey and predator.Are skull spiders real? ›
Steatoda nobilis has a brown bulbous abdomen with cream coloured markings that are often likened to the shape of a skull. Their legs are reddish-orange. Both female and male S. nobilis can be distinguished from other spiders of the same genus by their large size and typical colouration.Do false widow spiders make a noise? ›
Allegedly some people with acute hearing can hear their courtship routine, which is a noise made by rapid vibrations of the abdomen, but getting very close to listen is ill advised.What is a cupboard spider? ›
Steatoda grossa, commonly known as the cupboard spider, the dark comb-footed spider, the brown house spider (in Australia), or the false widow or false black widow (though several other species are known by these names), is a common species of spider in the genus Steatoda.What spider is the most poisonous? ›
Brazilian wandering spider
The Guinness Book of World Records considers the Brazilian wandering spider the most venomous in the world. Hundreds of bites are reported annually, but a powerful anti-venom prevents deaths in most cases.
Some spiders are attracted to moisture, so they take shelter in basements, crawl spaces, and other damp areas inside a home. Other spiders prefer drier environments such as; air vents, high upper corners of rooms, and attics. Most common house spiders actually spend their entire lives indoors.What is a 8 legged spider? ›
Do all spiders have 8 legs? It is a myth that only spiders have 8 legs. Some other 8-legged animals include mites, ticks, scorpions, pseudoscorpions, and tailless whip scorpions. There are hundreds of thousands of species with eight legs that aren't spiders. Only arachnids have eight legs.What happens if a false widow bites a dog? ›
Lookout for signs such as your dog has a rash, lump, restlessness, shallow breathing or abnormal changes in behaviour, unwillingness to exercise, lethargy, lameness, swelling, loss of appetite and if your pet is showing any of these symptoms - seek veterinary attention as quickly as possible.Why do false widows bite? ›
You can avoid being bitten by false widow spiders by staying out of their way. According to the Natural History Museum (NHM), these spiders will only bite if they are provoked or trapped against your skin.
What animals eat black widow spiders? ›
What are some predators of Black Widow Spiders? Predators of Black Widow Spiders include wasps, birds, and small mammals.Does a wolf spider bite hurt? ›
Wolf spiders don't pose a threat to people. It is possible to be allergic to a wolf spider's venom, but they are not poisonous. Since wolf spiders are large, their bite may be painful. If you have mild pain, swelling, or itchiness around the bite, it shouldn't last long.Do false widow spiders spin webs? ›
Typically, the False Widow Spiders spin a loose tangle of webbing, with a tube of silk in one corner that leads into a crevice where the spider hides in the day. This web is often at least 1.5 to 2 metres above ground level, and sometimes higher.What happens if a black widow bites you? ›
The black widow spider makes a venom that affects your nervous system. Some people are slightly affected by it, but others may have a severe response. Right away, you may feel severe pain, burning, swelling, and redness at the site. You may even see two fang marks.Do male false widow spiders bite? ›
"There have been very few confirmed incidences of bites from Steatoda nobilis, although adult female false widow spiders are certainly capable of biting humans if handled without due care - the smaller males are not known to cause bites.What spray kills false widow spiders? ›
If however the thought of dualing in hand-to-hand combat with a false widow spider is too much to bare an insecticidal (like fly spray) areosol licensed for use on spiders will do the job. With effective at ranges of several feet you'll find a short squirt will make them history.What do you do if you find a black widow spider? ›
If you find a black widow spider on your property, chances are very good there are more of them around. Black widow spiders are fast movers, especially if they feel threatened. You can try using an insecticide spray or vacuuming up the spider, but the safest thing to do is to call a professional pest company.Do false widow spiders lay eggs? ›
False Widow spiders like most spiders create an egg sack which they sit guard over. The duration from egg to juvenile stage can take between two and four months. The female lay's up to 120 eggs a time.What spider bites a mile? ›
While there, Miles got bitten by a genetically modified Alchemax spider labeled "42", which he quickly killed.Can a spider bite change your DNA? ›
At worst, they're likely to cause painful reactions or tissue death around the site of the bite. They do not, unfortunately, transmit any superpowers or modify your DNA in any way. That said, there are organisms that have attacked you or your ancestors and left some of their DNA behind.
What happens if a radioactive spider bites you? ›
What really happens to someone bitten by a radioactive spider? Not much. Or rather, not much aside from the usual symptoms of being fanged by an arachnid: itching, redness, soreness, and sometimes - depending on the type of spider - more serious symptoms, including unconsciousness or death.Can a black widow have a white hourglass? ›
Adult male black widows are a quarter the size of the female, and are usually gray or brown rather than black and red; while they may sometimes have an hourglass marking on their abdomen, it is usually yellow or white, not red.What does wolf spiders look like? ›
Wolf spiders are the most common spider species in the world. They're usually dark brown with pale markings or stripes on their back. Their colors vary based on where they live, since it mainly serves as camouflage for protection.Can black widows have a yellow hourglass? ›
Latrodectus mactans is the most common species of black widow in North America. The female is shiny black and usually has a reddish to yellow hourglass design on the underside of the spherical abdomen.Is there another spider that looks like a brown recluse? ›
WOODLOUSE SPIDER (Dysdera crocata)
This spider is sometimes mistaken for the brown recluse spider, though there is only a vague resemblance between the two. Yet, like the brown recluse, the woodlouse spider has six eyes and is most active at night. This spider has a ½-inch long body.
Although false widows do have a venomous bite, the venom is not particularly potent. Usually the only symptom is pain at the site which may radiate away from the bite. It ordinarily lasts between one and 12 hours, and rarely for more than 24 hours. Often, the symptoms are no worse than the pain of a wasp sting.What happens if a black widow bites you? ›
The black widow spider makes a venom that affects your nervous system. Some people are slightly affected by it, but others may have a severe response. Right away, you may feel severe pain, burning, swelling, and redness at the site. You may even see two fang marks.Are daddy long legs poisonous? ›
They do not have venom glands, fangs or any other mechanism for chemically subduing their food. Therefore, they do not have injectable toxins. Some have defensive secretions that might be toxic to small animals if ingested. So, for these daddy-long-legs, the tale is clearly false.What does a hobo spider look like? ›
It can be difficult to identify a hobo spider simply by the way it looks. Long legs, a brown body, and a grayish abdomen with yellowish markings are typical of many types of spiders. The body length of a hobo spider is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long with a leg span of about 1-2 inches.Why shouldn't you squish a wolf spider? ›
Do not squish the spider. A female wolf spider is the only spider that will carry its babies on its back for a week or so after they hatch. They just look like little bumps, but to be more careful, do not squish them or many more young spiders will crawl out. If they crawl out, you will have more spiders to deal with!
What spider makes a hole in the ground? ›
Arachnids such as trapdoor spiders (family Ctenizidae), tarantulas (family Theraphosidae) and wolf spiders (family Lycosidae) all remain in their burrows while patiently awaiting their next meals getting closer.What kills black widow spiders? ›
If you are able to discover the black widow spider during treatment, you can quickly kill them on contact with Pyrid Aerosol. Pyrid is a pyrethrin-based insecticide that is known to quickly knockdown labeled pests on contact and is safe and easy to use.How many babies does a black widow have? ›
The female black widow lays approximately 200 eggs. The eggs incubate for some 20 days in a small, round papery sac that's attached to the mother's web. After hatching, the baby spiders stay in the cocoon for up to one month.Does a black widow bite hurt? ›
A person who gets bitten by a black widow spider might not know it right away, since the bite can sometimes feel like a little pinprick. After 30 to 40 minutes, though, the area of the bite will swell and hurt a lot, and sometimes a person can get achy all over.How big is a hobo spider? ›
Spiders with such banding are not hobo spiders. Mature female hobo spiders are 9.5-16.5 mm (3/8-5/8 in) long, and male hobo spiders are 7-13.5 mm (9/32-9/16 in) in body length. Males have enlarged pedipalps located near the mouth, resembling short legs.What happens if a cellar spider bites you? ›
Bites. Not a medically important spider, cellar spiders aren't known to bite people. However, this has not detoured the existence of an urban myth indicating that cellar spider venom is among the most deadly in the world, but the length of the spider's fangs are too short to deliver the venom during a bite.What do baby wolf spiders look like? ›
What Do Wolf Spider Babies Look Like? Wolf Spiders babies are genetically black, grey, tan, and brown with absurd dark markings all over the outer skin. These markings are generally stripes. Their body color helps them camouflage, assisting them in successful hunting and trapping their prey.