Latrodectus question(s)

antinous

Pamphopharaoh
Joined
Mar 28, 2013
Messages
1,464
I'm interested in getting into the Latrodectus, just have a few questons.
How many species of widows are there in the hobby?
What's the average lifespan for a male? Female? I know they don't live as long as tarantulas, but from what I've heard people tend to breed them to keep them going in their collection. (I've read it takes 2-4 months for them to mature and was wondering if it was possible to breed siblings together?)
How hard is it to breed them?
What's your set up like for them?


Thanks!
 

chanda

Arachnoking
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Jun 27, 2010
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I've kept both Latrodectus hesperus (Western Black Widow) and Latrodectus geometricus (Brown Widow). Both are super easy to keep and have minimal needs. I've kept them in screw-top water or soda bottles (clear, so I can see them) and also in 32 oz. deli cups with mesh lids. While I have used the smaller individual-sized (20 oz. or so) water bottles, I prefer the big 2-liter bottles. When I keep them in the deli cups, I cut a 1/2 hole in the lid of the cup and stuff the hole with a piece of sponge. That way, when I need to feed them, I don't have to remove the whole lid - I can just pull out the sponge, drop in a cricket and/or a bunch of fruit flies (if there are baby spiders), and then stuff the sponge back in again. It prevents escapes - especially when they have dozens of babies running around. They don't really need substrate but you can add it if you like. I also toss in several twigs for them to climb and web on. Oh, and when I use an empty water or soda bottle, I'll usually put a bit of paper towel or thin fabric across the top of the bottle before I screw the cap on - that way, they don't crawl up into the cap and hide inside it, which can be a little unnerving when you go to remove the cap for feeding. They do not need supplemental heat - they do just fine at room temperature.

Feeding is easy - one or two crickets (depending on the size of the crickets) every week or two. Babies will eat each other, but when they get down to manageable numbers, you can start throwing in fruit flies for them. I don't bother giving them water - they're living in a desert environment anyway and get all their water from their food.

I have never tried breeding them - they're all over the place out here, so whenever I need one, I just find a nice fat female - and most of the time she's already gravid. I've had females lay up to seven or eight fertile egg sacs in captivity. As far as life span, I think the longest I've had them was maybe a year for wild-caught adult females or a year and a half for those that I've raised from slings. I've never bothered keeping males, so I don't know what their lifespan is, but I'd assume shorter than the females.
 

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
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Trick I was just told. Take a 1 quart/liter soda pop bottle. Remove label. Put one or two nice branching sticks it. Poke some pin holes for air. Install Latro. Turn upside down and place in the custom made or whatever rack.
When feeding, take bottle, remove cap, turn upside down for a moment and drop in food. Recap, replace in rack. They always live upstairs, almost never down at the cap.
 

antinous

Pamphopharaoh
Joined
Mar 28, 2013
Messages
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Anybody else have any info on more of the 'exotic' Latrodectus?

I've kept both Latrodectus hesperus (Western Black Widow) and Latrodectus geometricus (Brown Widow). Both are super easy to keep and have minimal needs. I've kept them in screw-top water or soda bottles (clear, so I can see them) and also in 32 oz. deli cups with mesh lids. While I have used the smaller individual-sized (20 oz. or so) water bottles, I prefer the big 2-liter bottles. When I keep them in the deli cups, I cut a 1/2 hole in the lid of the cup and stuff the hole with a piece of sponge. That way, when I need to feed them, I don't have to remove the whole lid - I can just pull out the sponge, drop in a cricket and/or a bunch of fruit flies (if there are baby spiders), and then stuff the sponge back in again. It prevents escapes - especially when they have dozens of babies running around. They don't really need substrate but you can add it if you like. I also toss in several twigs for them to climb and web on. Oh, and when I use an empty water or soda bottle, I'll usually put a bit of paper towel or thin fabric across the top of the bottle before I screw the cap on - that way, they don't crawl up into the cap and hide inside it, which can be a little unnerving when you go to remove the cap for feeding. They do not need supplemental heat - they do just fine at room temperature.

Feeding is easy - one or two crickets (depending on the size of the crickets) every week or two. Babies will eat each other, but when they get down to manageable numbers, you can start throwing in fruit flies for them. I don't bother giving them water - they're living in a desert environment anyway and get all their water from their food.

I have never tried breeding them - they're all over the place out here, so whenever I need one, I just find a nice fat female - and most of the time she's already gravid. I've had females lay up to seven or eight fertile egg sacs in captivity. As far as life span, I think the longest I've had them was maybe a year for wild-caught adult females or a year and a half for those that I've raised from slings. I've never bothered keeping males, so I don't know what their lifespan is, but I'd assume shorter than the females.
Sadly I don't drink soda so don't have access to 2L bottles haha. But that sponge idea sounds pretty good, I'll try that! Do you ever have to clean up the bolus or no?


Trick I was just told. Take a 1 quart/liter soda pop bottle. Remove label. Put one or two nice branching sticks it. Poke some pin holes for air. Install Latro. Turn upside down and place in the custom made or whatever rack.
When feeding, take bottle, remove cap, turn upside down for a moment and drop in food. Recap, replace in rack. They always live upstairs, almost never down at the cap.
That really sounds like a great idea, I bet getting the babies out is hell though... lol
 

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
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That really sounds like a great idea, I bet getting the babies out is hell though... lol
Inverting the bottle would entice the kids to climb up and out. You could also try one of those long wood stick cotton swabs. Fluff out the cotton and try to snag a few passing babies. Mom will eventually take care of the rest.
 

14pokies

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Oct 25, 2014
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1,706
This is how I keep mine 16oz deli some holes poked in the sides and a few in the lid mainly to make watering easier..
Those twigs were aranged in a way that would provide anchor points but she just bundles them up..Lol..
I keep the substrate( coco fiber and frog moss)moderately dry..I wet it once a week and it drys completly over 4-5 days..

I have had her for 7 months and within one month she started dropping sacs.. Luckily she wasn't fertalized..

As you can see she is going in the way of Charlotte( she seldom eats and sac production has ceased).
Im guessing just guessing she was hatched this previous summer.. So based on her if raised from a sling they live maybe 2yrs maybe 3? Im not sure..

They seem to be surprisingly calm spiders its been a joy having her.. Just work with tongues when doing maintenance.. 20160908_155608.jpg
 

Blue Jaye

Arachnobaron
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334
@Phormic28 I have many, many widows. All info above is great. They are super easy to keep. But they do balloon when the sac hatches so make sure the air holes are very small. No reason to breed siblings. There are to many around and they are super easy to come by. Pm me if you want some. I have a few different sizes. Most of mine are L.mactans.
 

antinous

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Joined
Mar 28, 2013
Messages
1,464
Thanks for the info everyone!

@Phormic28 I have many, many widows. All info above is great. They are super easy to keep. But they do balloon when the sac hatches so make sure the air holes are very small. No reason to breed siblings. There are to many around and they are super easy to come by. Pm me if you want some. I have a few different sizes. Most of mine are L.mactans.
Only reason why I'd consider breeding siblings is for the more rare species such as the ones from Asia, SA, Africa and Australia haha.
 

chanda

Arachnoking
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Jun 27, 2010
Messages
2,060
Anybody else have any info on more of the 'exotic' Latrodectus?



Sadly I don't drink soda so don't have access to 2L bottles haha. But that sponge idea sounds pretty good, I'll try that! Do you ever have to clean up the bolus or no?
No, I don't bother removing the bolus, molts, or other debris. When the bottle starts to get a little gross, I just rehouse. (That's the nice thing about having disposable enclosures.) I don't rehouse often - maybe every 5 or 6 months or so. I also don't make air holes in the bottles - the spiders don't need a lot of air, so the exchange that takes place when I open the bottle for feeding seems to be sufficient. When I use deli cups, I use the ventilated lids that have the fabric-y tops which do allow for better air exchange. (I don't like actual air holes because the babies are so small and they are really good at getting out through even the smallest holes. Since most of my widows have been wild-caught adults, I've had lots of babies - and I don't want them loose in the house.)

One other thing to be aware of: widows are capable of learning a feeding response. I've had several that "learned" that me unscrewing the lid or removing the sponge meant that food would be forthcoming. Instead of retreating from the lid (which was their initial response when first captured) they would run toward the opening whenever I tampered with it and attack the cricket the second I dropped it in - or even as it was being dropped in. When I have one that's particularly aggressive, I'll sometimes keep a chopstick on hand and poke that into the opening first - to make the spider back down - before feeding her.
 

Blue Jaye

Arachnobaron
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Thanks for the info everyone!



Only reason why I'd consider breeding siblings is for the more rare species such as the ones from Asia, SA, Africa and Australia haha.
I just ment they are plentiful around the us.
 

chanda

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
2,060
I've kept both Latrodectus hesperus (Western Black Widow) and Latrodectus geometricus (Brown Widow). Both are super easy to keep and have minimal needs. I've kept them in screw-top water or soda bottles (clear, so I can see them) and also in 32 oz. deli cups with mesh lids. While I have used the smaller individual-sized (20 oz. or so) water bottles, I prefer the big 2-liter bottles. When I keep them in the deli cups, I cut a 1/2 hole in the lid of the cup and stuff the hole with a piece of sponge. That way, when I need to feed them, I don't have to remove the whole lid - I can just pull out the sponge, drop in a cricket and/or a bunch of fruit flies (if there are baby spiders), and then stuff the sponge back in again. It prevents escapes - especially when they have dozens of babies running around. They don't really need substrate but you can add it if you like. I also toss in several twigs for them to climb and web on. Oh, and when I use an empty water or soda bottle, I'll usually put a bit of paper towel or thin fabric across the top of the bottle before I screw the cap on - that way, they don't crawl up into the cap and hide inside it, which can be a little unnerving when you go to remove the cap for feeding. They do not need supplemental heat - they do just fine at room temperature.

Feeding is easy - one or two crickets (depending on the size of the crickets) every week or two. Babies will eat each other, but when they get down to manageable numbers, you can start throwing in fruit flies for them. I don't bother giving them water - they're living in a desert environment anyway and get all their water from their food.

I have never tried breeding them - they're all over the place out here, so whenever I need one, I just find a nice fat female - and most of the time she's already gravid. I've had females lay up to seven or eight fertile egg sacs in captivity. As far as life span, I think the longest I've had them was maybe a year for wild-caught adult females or a year and a half for those that I've raised from slings. I've never bothered keeping males, so I don't know what their lifespan is, but I'd assume shorter than the females.
@Malia Just curious - what is it you disagree with?
 
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