Keeping more than one Black Widow in an enclosure. Possible?

Jimmy Jamblez

Arachnopeon
Joined
Feb 28, 2017
Messages
16
Hi fellas,

I'd like to know if it is possible to keep two female adult Red Back (Black Widow) spiders together in an enclosure.
I've currently got one female with 10 slings left in her enclosure plus a few sacs (the rest of the slings were released last week when I left the cover off outside and I decided to give them the opportunity to leave).

The slings and the female adult mother are okay together at the moment and the babies haven't managed to piss their mother off yet so I'm wondering if it would be okay to keep another female in the enclosure too as I've found one outside that's in need of some feeding etc.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Cheers.

PS: Photo of the female I have now :D
20170130_230413.jpg
 

chanda

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
2,059
Latrodectus species are not known for being sociable or even particularly tolerant of other spiders. Other spiders - including their own kind - are high on their list of prey items, both as slings and as adults. It may take them awhile to notice one another if the enclosure is sufficiently large, but it is almost certain that you would end up with one fat spider in the cage. As you may have noticed with the babies in your enclosure, they will gladly cannibalize one another - and once they get big enough to be worth noticing, the mother will cannibalize her own young as well.
 

Jimmy Jamblez

Arachnopeon
Joined
Feb 28, 2017
Messages
16
Thanks for the info mate that's interesting. So if one of her babies is a Male and manages to survive and grow into an adult, would that male actually mate with it's own mother too? Haha
 

Anoplogaster

Arachnodemon
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
675
Thanks for the info mate that's interesting. So if one of her babies is a Male and manages to survive and grow into an adult, would that male actually mate with it's own mother too? Haha
I'm sure no one needs to mention why incest is bad.....
 

chanda

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
2,059
Thanks for the info mate that's interesting. So if one of her babies is a Male and manages to survive and grow into an adult, would that male actually mate with it's own mother too? Haha
Yes, I suppose it's theoretically possible, if both manage to live that long.

While spiders are not bothered by the moral squeamishness that would prevent such incestuous pairings in humans, there are certain natural processes that minimize inbreeding in the wild - such as dispersal of the spiderlings shortly after they hatch and different rates of development where one sex matures faster than the other. (In L. hasseltii, males mature sooner than their female siblings.)

Within the closed environment of the cage where dispersal is not an option, both spiders can be sexually mature at the same time, making inbreeding more likely. Once the mother has mated, she has the ability to retain sperm and can continue to lay fertile egg sacs for up to a couple of years without mating again. Male Latrodectus use the pheromones of the female (incorporated into her web) to assess whether she is virgin or has previously mated, and choose to attempt mating only if her pheromones indicate that she is receptive. Although females do not need to mate again, they can begin producing the pheromones that indicate that they are receptive to mating several months after their last mating - which is about the length of time it takes a male Redback to reach maturity.
 

pannaking22

Arachnoemperor
Active Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2011
Messages
4,154
If there's lots of space then you can potentially keep more than one in an enclosure, but you'll probably still end up with only one after a while.

Inbreeding can occur. I wasn't able to get a mature male L. variolus for my rather old female, so I just used one of her offspring that matured quickly. Didn't have any issues and she produced 3 good sacs from that. Didn't try to do it again after that though just to be safe. I don't know how far down the line you have to go with latros before noticing any genetic bottlenecks, but I've heard it shows up faster in that genus compared to other spiders.
 

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
8,303
It is very common to see Latro to share common guy lines. Given the opportunity they will establish web and patrol parameters. Of course these observations don't take into account attrition when first establishing the boundaries.
 
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