black spider with white and yellow spots / marks – poisonous spider identified

Identified a poisonous widow spider with white marks or spots on a large abdomen.  Pictured below is a venomous spider that belongs to the Latrodectus genus, in the Theridiidae family. 

identify black widow spider

black striped spider with white marks, spots

Latrodectus is a genus of spider which contains 32 species. The more common name is WIDOW SPIDERS.

Widow spiders belong to the cobweb spider family. They spin irregular, sticky webs to catch insects. Widow spiders possess a row of bristles on their hind legs that form a comb, which is easily seen in the photos. The comb is used for flinging silk over its prey.

The black widow poisonous spider is perhaps the most common of the genus. Widow spider bites are dangerous because of the neurotoxin which causes the condition latrodectism(pain, seizures in muscle groups) —  this is where the name for the spider genus came about,Latrodectus.

The female Latrodectus spiders have unusually large venom glands and its bite is particularly harmful to humans; however, Latrodectus bites rarely kill humans if proper medical treatment is provided.

widow spider

black spider with orange yellow hourglass

Symptoms of a poisonous widow spider bite:

Once the spider’s poison reaches the blood, the venom is moved by circulation, causing its toxins to be deposited in the ends of the nerves that are inserted into the muscle.

The spider’s venom acts at nerve endings to prevent relaxation of muscles, causing seizures —constant, and painful muscle contractions. Cramping in the stomach is frequently the most severe but leg and back muscles may be affected also.

What to do after being bit by a widow spider?  SEEK medical attention after a poisonous spider bite.

spider with white spots

black striped spider with large abdomen

Most people will recognize widow spiders by the hourglass markings on the underside of their abdomens. The hourglass mark is NOT present in ALL Latrodectus species.

hourglass on spider belly

hourglass on black spider belly

In arid parts of ArizonaLatrodectus spiders inhabit almost every crevice in the soil and nests can be found in cholla cacti and agave plants.

The female’s spider venom is at least three times more potent than that of the males.  

SPIDER identified in my garden – black, gray, large abdomen, 4-6 white spots on belly

I’m on a quest to identify a spider near our pond as it is eating the damselflies **.  In the middle of a well engineered round web was a black, brownish, gray spider with striped legs.

**Damselflies are beneficial to the health of the pond.

spiders with striped legs and spots

Orb weaver spider eating

The wheel shaped web made identifying this family of spiders easy.

Orb Weaver spiders, common

spiders with spots and large abdomen

Orb-weaver spiders are the most common garden spiders and love to hangout in the middle of their round webs.


poisonous spider with large abdomen

Orb weaver spider with white spots, striped legs

QUICK FACT:  Spiders are venomous.    Spiders use venom to subdue their prey.  Fortunately, very few spiders are harmful to humans or even capable of penetrating the skin of a human.

white marks on spider

common Orb Weaver spider with 4 white spots

garden spider with striped legs

spiders with 4 marks on a large abdomen


Orb Weaver common spider

yellow design on the Orb Weaver spider

most common spiders, orb weaver

brown spider with yellow markings

This colorful spider made a round web marvel between two large Yucca plants.  It was a medium sized spider, a bit scary looking up close; but I was so intrigued with her large silky web!

spider with its prey in the web

common garden spiders are Orb Weavers

The insect that wonders into the Orb-weaver’s sticky web will receive a quick stunning bite.  This spider has over 10,000 species and belongs to the family Araneidae. 

spider with stiped legs

the 4 spots on a common Orb Weaver spider

spider with large abdomen and round web

an Orb Weaver spider caught a bee in her web

All Orb-weaver spiders spin webs!

spider with big yellow belly

the round spider web of the Orb Weaver

Fall is typically the time the female Orb-weaver spiders will lay their last clutch of eggs.  The spider eggs survive the winter and will hatch in the spring.

white markings on belly of spider

grey Orb Weaver spider carrying a damselfly

Orb Weaver Spiders belong to the family Araneidae and possess eight similar eyes, arranged in two rows of four eyes each.

spiders with round whell shaped webs

garden spider with yellow markings on its abdomen

With over 10,000 species for the Orb Weaver spider you are sure to see many varying patterns and colors.

common garden spider

Orb Weaver spider’s  large abdomen

Araneidae family of spiders

Orb Weaver spiders have designs on their backs

Orb-weaver spiders only bite if they feel threatened.  Their venom is not harmful to humans.

What does a spider bite feel like?  The bite from an Orb-weaver spider feels like a bee sting.

At night is a good time to see these spiders working hard to rebuild and repair their round, wheel-shaped webs.

identify spider with striped legs

identify a spider with white marks

For people searching to identify a spider that looks like the one I found in the above picture.  This is a spider with a large abdomen, gray and black striped legs, 4-6 white marks underneath the abdomen.

orb weaver garden spiders

spiders with 4 to 6 white marks on the bottom of the abdomen

Like all spiders, the young Orb-weaver looks like a tiny adult when it hatches.  As the spider grows it sheds it’s skin.  Spiders hatch in the spring.

juvenile orb weaver spiders

young orb weaver spiders with white legs

For identifying the spiders I posted today:

  • gray, brown colors
  • striped legs
  • spider with yellow markings on the abdomen
  • 2-6 white spots underneath the belly
  • spider with white markings on a gray abdomen

Orb-weaver spiders are good because they help control mosquito, fly and ant populations;  therefore, beneficial to humans.

TIDBITS:  How long does a spider live?  Most spiders live for only one year.