How Did the Black Widow Spider Get Its Name?
The black widow spider got its name because the female sometimes kills the male after mating. The female black widow builds her own web, and lives most of her life alone. She barely tolerates the male, who is less than half her size.
During courtship the male approaches the female with considerable caution. He taps out a signal on the threads of her web to see if she is interested in his advances.
If she isn’t, she may eat him up. Or she may mate with him and eat him later if she is hungry. Most often, however, the male is able to get away safely.
Black widow spiders also use their webs to ensnare their prey, which consists of flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars.
Black widows are comb-footed spider, which means they have, bristles on their hind legs that they use to cover their prey with silk once it has been trapped.
To feed, black widows puncture their insect prey with their fangs and administer digestive enzymes to the corpses. By using these enzymes, and their gnashing fangs, the spiders liquefy their prey’s bodies and suck up the resulting fluid.