Look Out Black Widow, Here Comes Brown Widow
Less toxic rivals may be taking over in West
By Dustin Lushing, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2012 9:36 AM CDT
A brown widow spider guarding her egg sacs in Florida.   (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin, File)

(Newser) – Good news: You may now be slightly less likely to find a black widow spider hiding in your shoe. Researchers discovered that the deadly arachnid is being crowded out of swaths of its native US territory by a new creepy crawler to the scene—the brown widow, reports LiveScience. The upside for humans is that the brown widow's bite is less toxic. It would probably just hurt a lot.

Scientists were investigating natural habitats in Southern California where they expected to encounter black widows, but at more than 70 of the sites, they found 20 times as many brown widows. "There may be some competition where brown widows are displacing black widows because there is some habitat overlap," says one researcher. The black widows may be heading to more agricultural areas, notes the LA Times. Their brown cousins seem to prefer hiding around human structures, with a special affinity for "cheap patio furniture," adds the researcher.

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Showing 3 of 8 comments
Jul 7, 2012 9:33 PM CDT
sounds like an expensive-patio-furniture-company conspiracy.
Jul 7, 2012 6:53 PM CDT
Aussies are reading this and laughing. "Oi, come look. Yankees think they got dangerous spider! haha"
Jul 7, 2012 6:47 PM CDT
What gets Me about these Brown Widows is that they don't run from the light. I started noticing them a few years ago and now they seem to be everywhere...on the side of the shed, near the water bibs, on the trees, on the plants, in the bushes, under the BBQ grill, etc. They mind their own business but they're still out and about in daylight or at night. I seldom kill any animal or insect but these Brown Widows (& Black Widows) are ones I do kill. Not sure how deadly they are to cats, but I've got seven of them and I once watched one take a garden spider into her mouth then spit it out...all I need is for one of them to pick up a Brown Widow into their mouth and get bitten on the tongue or something.