Venomous Spiders of the S.E. U.S.

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Spiders of Georgia

Note!  all suspected bites from black widow, brown widow and brown recluse spiders need to be evaluated by a medical professional.  A favorable outcome can result in early treatment of bites from these species.  IF in doubt…..contact your doctor or a local Ga. Poison Control Center for advice.

The Black Widow Spider with her egg sac.

The black widow is a very common spider over much of the Eastern United States.  Black widows prefer darkened areas, such as inside watering cans, old paint cans, in water meter boxes and underneath debris.  The black widow weaves a very messy web with no sense of design.  The female is ebony black with a red, hour-glass shaped mark on the underside of her abdomen.  This is usually quite easily seen as the spider typically hangs unside down in her web.  The egg sac, which is a whitish / cream colored and once it hatches, may produce a tremendous number of spiderlings.  The photo above shows a female black widow (far right) and an egg sac as well as the author finger tips to illustrate the size of the spider and her egg sac.

Close-up of the underside of a female black widow spider.  The small round hole just below the red hour glass shape marking is the spinneret.  This particular spider also has a small red mark on the posterior dorsal side of the abdomen.

The brown widow spider is introduced from Africa and is now wide spread over much of the southeastern United States.  The brown widow is very similar in body shape to the black widow but is overall a bit smaller.  This species is highly variable in coloration and the dorsal side of the abdomen may be brown, cream or even whitish in color.  The brown widow, like the black widow, exhibits a red hour glass shaped mark on the underside of its abdomen.

Here, a very pale colored brown widow is tending her egg sacs.  The egg sac of the brown widow is quyite unique and look like round white fluffy balls with spikes. Each egg sac may contain hundreds of baby spiderlings.

The brown recluse has become a very common spider in many areas of the southeast.  This spider is extremely quick and is capable of disappearing very quickly once discovered.  The bite of the female brown recluse may result in extensive tissue loss and bites need medical attention to monitor any necrosis that may occurr and insure a quicker recovery time in the event of a serious systematic reaction.  Here the authors finger tip provides a size reference for the size of an adult female brown recluse.

The brown recluse is a fairly uniform brown colored spider with fairly long legs.  Bites occassionally occur on people when spiders may reside in an article of clothing and once the garment is put on, the spider is trapped between a persons skin and the material and thus an accidental bite is the result. 

Close-up of the cephlothorax (head body combination) of a brown recluse spider.   The fiddle or violin is easily seen with the base of the fiddle being at the face of the spider and the neck of the fiddle extends towards the abdomen.