Black widow spiders could face extinction in parts of the southern United States, as they become prey for the non-native brown widow, according to new research…
While black widows are known for their poisonous bite, they are not aggressive if unprovoked. In comparison, brown widows grow faster and are twice as fertile, producing more egg sacs than southern black widows.
Brown widows are also six times more likely to kill and consume “shy” southern black widows, according to researchers, than other cobweb spiders. – Sheri Walsh (March 14, 2023)
Cry. Weep and cry. Go ahead. We dare you.
No, but seriously, this is one situation where legitimate ecology concern is not helped by natural human emotion, as in the case of eagles, for example. Natural human emotion, in this case, is more along the lines of: Oh, why can’t they all just kill each other?
The paper is open access.
In a container habitat set up by USF researchers, brown widows were 6.6 times more likely to attack black widows than other related species. The behavior is likely a driver of the black widow spider’s population decline according to a new study.
Note: Pencilman!! appears because the alternative would be to go out and find anther black widow.
In case you wondered…
You may also wish to read: Spiders are smart. Be glad they are small. Recent research has shed light on the intriguing strategies that spiders use to deceive other spiders — and prey in general. Invertebrates like spiders and octopuses can be smarter than we used to think and we are only beginning to discover their many strategies.
In what ways are spiders intelligent? The ability to perform simple cognitive functions does not appear to depend on the vertebrate brain as such. Recent claims of data fabrication against Jonathan Pruitt shouldn’t detract from genuine new finds re spider intelligence.