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Black widow spider (juvenile male)

Latrodectus mactans


Tiny juvenile black widow apparently embalming his dying mother for later consumption! The enlarged palps indicate this is a male.


Semi rural.


Females live for up to 5 years but this one had clearly reached the end of her life & was barely moving as one of her offspring began wrapping her in silk.

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31 Comments (1–25)

Smith'sZoo 9 years ago

Oh no, I thought it was the male all along!

KarenL 9 years ago

Thanks Dez, though I don't think there is much "love" happening here though as he's actually about to dine on his dying mother!

Smith'sZoo 9 years ago

Found this mission recently and imediatly thought about this spot!
"Wild Love" mission

KarenL 9 years ago

Thanks Dez & Cindy!

Wonderful series!

Smith'sZoo 9 years ago

wow, you only ever see the female! I have never seen them together like this! brilliant!

KarenL 9 years ago

Thank you Mayra!

MayraSpringmann 9 years ago

Great series, Karen!

KarenL 9 years ago

Thanks Hanno!
Sofi, yes, there are so many weird & wonderful things I'm learning about wildlfe every day!

Hanno Shalaby
Hanno Shalaby 9 years ago

congrats !!
this is great shot KarenL

KarenL 9 years ago

That's true Leuba! I've not been able to find any reference to sacrificial cannibalism in black widows so I'm guessing this one is just being opportunistic!

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 9 years ago

sounds awful but at least nothing is wasted - great photo of the juvenile !

KarenL 9 years ago

Thank you Harsha!

Harsha Singh
Harsha Singh 9 years ago

That is a precious spotting Karen.

KarenL 9 years ago

Thanks Jolly! Spiders don't seem to be too particular on what or who they eat!

Jolly Ibañez
Jolly Ibañez 9 years ago

Oops, I did not read the notes... Anyway its still brutally beautiful. An offspring eating the mother!

Jolly Ibañez
Jolly Ibañez 9 years ago

Very beautiful. Brutally beautiful! Imagine the female eating the male after doing it!

KarenL 9 years ago

Thanks Carol!

CarolSnowMilne 9 years ago

Oh my gosh! This is so different and amazing.

KarenL 9 years ago

Thank you Scott!
Lisa, we were about to collect the female as a specimen for you, but we saw junior move in first! Martha is keeping her eyes open for another one for you!

ScottHarte 9 years ago

great find Karen, sharp eye.

LisaPowers 9 years ago

Most excellent! Love this series!

KarenL 9 years ago

Emma, in my experience most creatures would rather escape than than fight & put themselves at risk!
Thanks Atul! This is my second cannibalistic spider spotting!
Thanks for your kind comment Adam!

Hema  Shah
Hema Shah 9 years ago

Black widows is a reality in the bay area. Just recently i read an article on how brown widows are taking over and how much more venomous they are.
Black widow venom is 15 times more potent than rattle snake venom.
i have noticed that they usually keep to themselves and do not go out of their way to bite. They retreat into their hideout with great speed and agility.You would actually have to pick one and ask it to bite you.

Atul 9 years ago

superb spotting ,perfect example of cannibalism !

Spotted by

Columbia, Tennessee, USA

Spotted on Jul 4, 2012
Submitted on Jul 4, 2012

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