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

Our 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 center 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 dangerous 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 florid spider made a round web marvel between two plants.  Intimidating up close, this female Orbweaver lingers patiently for her next meal.

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 formidable bite.  This spider has over 3,000 species and belongs to the Araneidae family.

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-weaving 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 have poor eyesight even though they possess eight eyes that are arranged in two rows of four eyes each.

spiders with round whell shaped webs
garden spider with yellow markings on its abdomen

Orb weaver spiders have many exquisite patterns and colors.  We’ve included many photos to help you identify the spiders in your area.

common garden spider
Orb Weaver spider’s  large abdomen
Araneidae family of spiders
Orb Weaver spiders have designs on their backs

Note:  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 our planet.

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