The Black Widow Spider

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Black Widow Spider


The spider is a wide known organism with a wide influence on life. The black widow spider is just one of over 30,000 types of spiders. Black Widow is a common name for the spider which is classified scientifically as K: Animalia, P: Arthropoda, C: Arachnida, O: Araneae, F: Theridiidae, G:Latrodectus, S: mactans. The species name mactans specifies the southern black widow spider. There are 31 different species from the genus Latrodectus. This genus is commonly referred to as widow spiders. Other members of this genus include hesperus, varilous, and revivensis (Balaban 2005).

The class spiders belong to is Arachnida. Class Arachnida contains one of the defining traits of a spider, having eight legs. Other species included in this class include scorpions, tics, and harvestman. The order that defines spiders is Araneae which contains three suborders that are Mesothelae, Mygalomorphae and Araneomorphae. A specific characteristic to this order is that these species bodies are segmented into two distinct sections, the cephalothorax (anterior) and abdomen (posterior). Finally, the genus of the South Black Widow spider is Latrodectus. This genus is famous for having spiders with a poisonous bite (Preston-Mafham 1984).

Black Widow Spider



The spider’s body is relatively simple. Similar to the rest of the species in Arthropoda, the spider has an exoskeleton that protects it from its environment. This exoskeleton protects the segmented sections of the body (the cephalothorax and the abdomen) as well as the four pairs of legs (Foelix 1996). Because of this exoskeleton, as the spider gr...

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