The Black Widow spider may by the most well-known and the most feared spider is the world, but what may be less well known is that we actually only fear the female spiders of this family. With the distinctive black body and red hourglass shape of the abdomen it is hard to miss these deadly females. The men are small, light brown creatures and are less likely to be seen and do not bite at all, rendering them completely harmless and hardy as memorial as their female counterparts. The name Black Widow stems from the belief that the females always eat their mates after mating, which does happen in some species.
The mating game can become so desperate for some male spiders that they will drape their abdomen over the females mouth as an offering. When this happens he has to fertilize her quickly and effectively before she has coated him completely with her digestive juices and begins to feast. If he does not finish in time he will have died in vain. Once a female has mated she stores enough of her mates sperm to last the rest of her life. Out of the hundreds of eggs she will produce only a few dozen will make it to adulthood.
Black Widows are rarely eager to bite a human, preferring to save their venom for something that they can eat. They will only bite if the feel trapped or cornered. If they are provoked they inject the smallest amount of venom along with a sting that has little to no pain at all. Though rarely fatal, a Black Widow bite can cause a painful storm in the nervous once the venom gets into circulation. In severe cases an antivenom is needed which is derived from the blood serum of horses mixed with black widow venom.