In several territories in Mexico, the United States and Canada, we can find one of the most venomous spiders on the planet. Its scientific name is Latrodectus mactans, but it is better known as the black widow.
On the other hand, in social and cultural terms, this term is used to describe women who have committed serial murders of their respective husbands, usually based on economic interests, and in other cases driven by revenge, whether out of jealousy or some kind of conflict. It is a reality that manifests itself in novels and films and is part of a popular society . Precisely, this reference is born from the spider’s particularities.
An animal with all kinds of curiosities
Females have a reddish sand clock sign on their abdomen, but males do not have this distinctive feature. Females are four times larger than males.
In principle it is not an aggressive animal, but when it feels cornered it can react by biting. Its bite is very toxic and paralyzes the nervous system of its victims. Its toxicity has been proven to be 15 times more potent than that of a rattlesnake. When a person receives their bite they can die if they do not receive the antidote in time. Thanks to its identification sign, other animals know that the spider is poisonous.
Spider web silk is extremely resistant, even more so than steel itself. Scientists have tried to create a similar synthetic version, but failed.
Like the vast majority of animals, these spiders have their enemies, the wasps. Through its bite the spiders become paralyzed and finally die
Its reproduction is subject to a unique process . First, the female emits an odor to attract the male’s attention. Then both begin a courtship ritual. Soon after, mating occurs and the male injects his sperm. After intercourse, the female devours the male and for this reason becomes the black widow (not all females become widows, as some males manage to escape).
The 300-400 eggs accumulated after fertilization are placed in a pouch which is then woven with the silk made by the spider.
Although traditionally it is believed that the female deliberately kills the male after the relationship sexual, it is proven that it is a simple myth.
Some researchers claim that the cause of death may be another, because at the time of separation the male has an injury to his reproductive system and for this reason ends up dying.
Your role in WWII
During the war, American soldiers from Fort Knox in Kentucky had a special mission: to look for black widows.
Spiders were fed properly so that they could weave their web and thus obtain the silk thread. This wire was used in the telescopic sight glasses of some weapons.