Isn’t it amazing how so many elements of our natural world work together? That’s certainly not a new thought, but at least once a week, maybe more in the summer, I’m struck by an element of creation, and I can’t get over the wonder of it. I’m not talking about new discoveries, just something I hadn’t dwelt on before. I’m impacted and can’t help but appreciate it, reflect on it, and then share it. So, here it is. Ever since I read a short article in Answers in Genesis on the Black Widow spider, I’ve been fascinated by this creature.
Like most people, I’d heard of the spider, feared her venom, but I didn’t know much else about her. I knew more about the Marvel Comics super hero. I’ll bet most people do. In fact, if you google Black Widow, and hope to do a little research on the arachnid, make sure you tack on the word ‘spider’ after Black Widow, or search for Latrodectus Mactans, otherwise Wikepedia will give you the run down on Natalia Alianovna Romanova.
An instinctual master, this spider knows to hang in her web belly upward so the red warning sign is visible to predators, mainly birds. According to this article in Smithsonian magazine, an experiment was conducted that showed birds avoided spiders with red markings three times more than the completely black spiders.
Other Interesting Facts
- When threatened, this spider will usually drop out of her web and play dead. She’d rather run than fight. Good to know, right? You’ll see a good example of this in the video below.
- There are varying opinions on whether the female eats the male after they mate, but the general consensus seems to be that she holds off devouring him until he’s old and feeble and gets stuck in her web. Here are the details on that.
- The males are all black and not poisonous.
- Within one summer, the female can produce 9 egg sacs, each with up to 400 babies. That’s 3600 babies in one summer. Apparently, there is a high rate of cannibalism within the baby population, so only about 12 from each egg sac live. Check out the article. Talk about survival of the fittest.
- The venom of a black widow is 15 times more toxic than a rattlesnake.
Created with purpose
We don’t know why all spiders exist. We know they eat insects, but are there other benefits? Here are a few I found for the Black Widow:
- Scientist are currently working with the venom to create environmentally friendly insecticides as well as drugs that may save future heart attack victims by thinning the blood. You can read about it here.
- The web silk is very strong. In World War II, silk from the Black Widow was used to make crosshairs for gun sights. This was a very tedious process and many Black Widows gave their lives serving. Check out this amazing article where rations for the spiders were two flies a week.
- In ancient days, web silk from the Black Widow was used as suture thread.
Want to enjoy more? This is a fun video and no spiders were harmed in it’s making.
The way in which the natural world thrives cohesively demonstrates the work of an insightful creator, and in a time when there is so much focus on the negative and fear drives our reactions, gaining new perspective can help us cope, refocus, and enjoy life. Next time you come upon a spider with red on it’s body, don’t treat her like an outcast, but stop and recognize her as a fascinating creation. Dwell on her design and her significance to human lives, then share what you saw with someone else.
Have you ever seen a Black Widow spider? Where at? What was your reaction?