That’s one beautiful spider

Latrodectus umbukwane is a breath-takingly gorgeous spider from South Africa. Look at those colors!

As you might guess from the genus, it’s related to black widows, which means of course everyone gets worked up about its potential venomous nature. It hasn’t bitten anyone that we know of! Get over it! It seems to be, if anything, unusually shy.

Also, you want to see some sexual dimorphism? Take a look at this.


  1. brucej says

    Lactrodectus are really pretty. Back when I was an undergrad, I was doing some work in a greenhouse and there was either a black or a brown widow under each leg of the long metal tables. There was also a mound of cricket exoskeleton under each one.

    One of the brown widows was gorgeous: zig-zag tiger stripes of different shades of brown each outlined in white, and the red hourglass on her underside, also outlined in a white band. Sadly this was long before the days of cell phones let alone cellphone cameras, so I didn’t get a picture. I’ve seen others since, but none like that.

  2. jonmelbourne says

    I was about to ask how could the males even recognize the females of their species when they look so different, and then I realised the males wouldn’t even know what they themselves look like. So how do spiders of the same species find each other to mate? Pheremones?

  3. nomdeplume says

    Hmmm, L. hasselli, the Redback, an invasive pest in Australia, is dangerous and in huge numbers in shelter – plant pots, under pieces of wood, in sheds, and, as a famous song goes “under toilet seats”…