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BLACK WIDOW SPIDER

 

Latrodectus mactans Fab. -- Araneida, Theridiidae

 

(Contacts)

 

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The black widow spider, a poisonous species, is widely distributed in America especially in regions with warm climates.  There are frequent reports of humans being bitten by this spider, especially in California (Herms et al. 1965, McMurtry 1978).  It invaded Hawaii around 1935 and became a problem in the warmer drier sections of the islands (Pemberton 1948a).  Hermes et al. (1935) and Pierce (1942) discuss its biology. 

 

An egg parasitoid, Baeus latrodecti Doz. (= B. californicus Pierce) was discovered parasitizing black widows in a small area with sand dunes in southern california (Pierce 1942).  Parasitized eggs were shipped by Pierce to Hawaii, where a rearing program was initiated and over 32,000 B. latrodecti were liberated during 1939-40 (Pierce 1942, Pemberton 1948).  Bianchi (1945) reported that a search on the island of Hawaii failed to reveal the parasitoid, but it was later found to be established on Maui.  Eurytoma latrodecti Full. was introduced from Hawaii to Kwajalein in 1950 for control of black widow spider, and was reported to be established (Pemberton 1954). 

 

 

REFERENCES:          [Additional references may be found at:   MELVYL Library ]

 

Bianchi, F. A.  1945.  Notes on the abundance of the spiders Lactrodectus mactans, L. geometricus and Agriope avara, and of their parasites on the Island of Hawaii.  Hawaii. Ent. Soc. Proc. 12:  245-47.

 

Hermes, W. B, S. F. Bailey & B. McIvor.  1935.  The black widow spider.  Calif. Agric. Expt. Sta. Bull. 591.  30 p.

 

McMurtry, J. A.  1978.  Araneida, Theridiidae.  In:  C. P. Clausen (ed.), Introduced Parasites and Predators of Arthropod Pests and Weeds:  A world Review.  U. S. Dept. Agriculture, Agric. Handbk. No. 480.  545 p.

 

Pemberton, C. E.  1948.  History of the Entomology Department Experiment Station, H.S.P.A.  1904-1945.  Hawaii. Planters' Rec. 52:  53-90.

 

Pemberton, C. E.  1954.  Invertebrate consultants committee for the Pacific, report for 1949-1954.  Natl. Acad. Sci. Natl. Res. Council Pacific Sci. Board.  56 p.

 

Pierce, W. D.  1942.  Utilization of the black widow parasite, and further data on spiders and parasites.  So. Calif. Acad. Sci. Bull. 41:  14-28.

 

Sweetman, H. L.  1958.  The Principles of Biological Control.  William Brown, Iowa.  560 p.