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How to Identify a Brown Widow Spider

| Updated September 26, 2017

How to Identify a Brown Widow Spider. The Brown Widow Spider is one of the common names for Latrodectus geometicus. All of the 31 species in the Latrodectus genus are known as widow spiders with the Black Widow being the most well known. The following steps will help you identify this potentially dangerous spider.

Notice the coloring. The Brown Widow usually ranges from tan to dark brown but can be gray. It has a black and white pattern on the top of its abdomen and a distinctive orange or yellow hourglass on the underside of its abdomen.

Consider the body type. The adult leg span for females is 1.5 inches at most. The abdomen is large and round compared to its cephalothorax. The Brown Widow has long slender legs. The males are tiny compared to the females.

Watch the behavior. The Brown Widow is relatively docile and, when threatened, it usually drops to the ground and curls into a ball. It does get aggressive when guarding an egg sac, however.

Look for the egg sac. This is the easiest way of finding a Brown Widow. It is pear-shaped, at least one-half-inch in diameter and will frequently be guarded by several females.

Know the habitat. The Brown Widow is primarily found along the Gulf Coast of the United States and South Africa. Its origin is uncertain as it was discovered in both places at the same time.


  • All spiders have some venom and this species is dangerous to humans. Its bite could kill you.