Bert's link wrote:
Two species are common to the United States.
That set me to thinking that there might be a different one in SA of course, and it is:
Background: Widow spiders belong to the genus Latrodectus and include the black widow spider (Latrodectus mactans mactans) in the United States. The term widow spider is used because not all species in the genus Latrodectus are black. Other widow spiders in North America include the brown widow (Latrodectus geometricus), the red-legged widow (Latrodectus bishopi), Latrodectus variolus, and Latrodectus hesperus. The redback spider (Latrodectus hasselti) is endemic to Australia. Latrodectus mactans tredecimguttatus and Latrodectus pallidus are found in Europe and South America, and the button spider (Latrodectus indistinctus) is found in South Africa.
The adult female black widow spider is approximately 2 cm in length and shiny black with a red-orange hourglass or spot on the ventral abdomen. The male is much smaller, brown, and incapable of envenomating humans. Juvenile females are also brown but have the general body morphology of the adult. Males and juveniles have a pale hourglass shape, similar to adult females. The female sometimes eats the male during or after copulation. Webs are irregular, low-lying, and commonly seen in garages, barns, outhouses, and foliage. Other widow spiders are generally black but may have red spots, such as Latrodectus mactans tredecimguttatus, or a dorsal red stripe, such as the redback spider. Latrodectus geometricus is brown with red and yellow markings.
Pathophysiology: Alpha-latrotoxin causes the toxic effects observed in humans by opening cation channels (including calcium channels) presynaptically, causing increased release of multiple neurotransmitters. This results in excess stimulation of motor endplates with resultant clinical manifestations. Clinically, the predominant effects are neurological and autonomic, in contrast to the dermonecrotic local effects associated with spiders causing necrotic arachnidism (eg, brown spiders [Loxosceles species]).
In the US: Approximately 2500 widow spider bites were reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) in 2001, although this figure is probably conservative because of underreporting.
Mortality/Morbidity: In the United States, an average of 4 deaths per year are reported to occur as a result of spider bites. However, no deaths caused by widow spider envenomation have been reported to the AAPCC since its first annual report in 1983. A recent death was reported after a black widow spider bite in Greece.
: The photos from our trip! Overhere! Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c