How can black widow spiders kill you

Poisonous spider: Black widow is poisonous: bites can kill people

There are two statements about spiders: “She doesn't do anything” or “She is more afraid of you than you are of her”. That may be true, but this little eight-legged woman can even paralyze an adult if she bites: the black widow.

Mostly it appears in the southeast of the United States of America, even as far as Mexico it is said to have made it. "Latrodectus mactans" is the technical term for the poisonous animal. The body of the female grows to about 1.5 centimeters. So smaller than a paper clip. With legs, however, the spider can grow up to four centimeters long.

Black widow is poisonous

The male bodies are shorter: only up to seven millimeters. What is striking about the spider is, of course, its black color. There is a red spot in the shape of an hourglass on her stomach. The males have longer legs and mostly a yellow abdomen. But where did the black widow get her name from and what makes her so dangerous?

The female spider sometimes eats the male after mating. That is why it lives up to its name. However, this is nothing special. Most other species of spiders, including this dangerous eight-legged female, do the same.

Black widow bite can even kill humans

With its poisonous claws, however, it can not only kill male spiders, but in the worst case even humans. At first, the bite should feel like a pinprick. The victims feel the neurotoxin only after about half an hour. Those who have been bitten are in pain and have to struggle with paralysis, cramps and rising blood pressure.

The poison is dangerous if the person concerned is weak or weak, for example for the elderly, children or people who have an allergic reaction. The wound swells and turns red. However, the little crawling animal only bites when it feels threatened - just like most animals. It prefers to hide in dark, cool places during the day and only crawl out of the tightly woven net at night.

Mediterranean black widow is more harmless

There is also a relative of the spider in Europe, but it has a less potent venom: the Mediterranean black widow. It occurs in South and Southeast Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, as well as in Central Asia and lives mainly in steppe areas. It has also been spotted in France, Spain, Croatia and Italy. The bodies of the female animals are about one centimeter in size. So with legs, they are about as long as their American relatives.

However, there is a visible difference between the two arachnids: Both the males and the females of the European species have 13 brightly rimmed red, yellow or purple spots on their abdomen. These are arranged in three longitudinal rows. The spider can also be colored completely black.