The male Black widow spider is considered harmless to human beings because they have very small fangs to bite with so they can’t impart a significant amount of venom to cause an episode.
The anatomy of the male Black widow
While females can grow to one and a half inches across, the male will only reach three quarters of an inch at maturity. They are smaller in body and have distinct yellow and red markings. Their legs are also slightly longer for their body.
The female can be quickly identified from her red marking on her midnight black color.
The fate of the male Black widow
There are about 31 species of black widow spiders. Out of these only two will eat their male which she mistakes for food because he launches himself into her mouth after mating. If the female black widow is hungry when the make enters her web she may eat him up instead of copulating with him.
In order to avoid being eaten the make must create certain vibrations with his abdomen to alert the female that he wants to mate not to be a meal.
What to know about a make black widow
The males make their own webs away from the female until it is time to mate. They will destroy the web once it is mating season after smelling the pheromones that the female laces into her web to attract them.
The females stay put in their webs and wait for a make to come to them. The first male to arrive begins to disassemble the female’s web removing any proof of the pheromones laced web that’ll attract other males. He needs to do this to deter competitors from coming to that female because she can attract up to 40 males per night. As he breaks down the web he releases his own scent to mask her effectively keeping out the competition.
During their mating the make spider will wrap his silk web around her legs to mask her scent even further in what is commonly referred to as a bridal veil. If he successfully completed the wraparound he will walk away from the female and leave her to start the process of web building again. Males typically tend to live for only about one to two months because of risk factors like cannibalism and also natural selection.
Male black widow spiders are known for their ability to piggyback on other makes to reach a female looking to mate. They will follow the silky strands of other males looking for a female and find a way to overtake them and reach the female first. The most successful makes to reach a mating female are actually those that follow the other males and not the ones that follow the female’s pheromone laced cues.
A male black widow spider has a short and typically brutal life span. But these spiders have developed a fail-safe to help them stay alive for longer. That is looking for well-fed female black widow to mate with effectively lessening the chances of being eaten after copulation.