Sexing L.hesperus?

Stugy

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Apr 21, 2016
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I currently have two Latrodectus hesperus and I would like to know if there are any things that can provide a definite sex. Pictures are welcome as I don't really know much about a spider's anatomy. I just see 'em and I catch 'em. And so far these two widows have been the only 2 I've seen here in SD. Maybe because of the heavy use of chemicals in my area and the sudden huge amount of brown widows killing them off.
 

chanda

Arachnoking
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Jun 27, 2010
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Are they mature? If so, the male's pedipalps (the things that look like an extra set of small legs, right in front of the face) are very different. Those of the female have small tips http://bugguide.net/node/view/975414, but those of the male end in prominent organs called emboli http://bugguide.net/node/view/552716 that are used for transferring sperm to the female during mating http://bugguide.net/node/view/227964. See, for example: http://bugguide.net/node/view/1019616/bgimage and http://bugguide.net/node/view/980715/bgimage and even: http://bugguide.net/node/view/541678/bgimage

Also, the males tend to be smaller than the females and may be lighter colored, ranging from whitish: http://bugguide.net/node/view/1285520 to brown: http://bugguide.net/node/view/1019616 to black: http://bugguide.net/node/view/760412 They may also retain the dorsal markings that are present in both male and female juveniles: http://bugguide.net/node/view/980715

The females, once mature, are typically big and glossy black: http://bugguide.net/node/view/937167 with the distinctive red hourglass marking: http://bugguide.net/node/view/956745. The dorsal markings: http://bugguide.net/node/view/845731 that they have as juveniles tend to fade: http://bugguide.net/node/view/1276483 and eventually disappear altogether as they approach maturity.
 
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Stugy

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Well my biggest one of the two has to be a female. I think I'm going to try and grab some picks of them.
 

KevinsWither

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Females. Males are a lot skinner and don't have the coloration. I can assume with uncertainty that they are probably fertilized if wild caught.
 

Stugy

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xD It's gonna be so hard for me to find some males then. They look so similar to so many spiders in my area (wait a minute... what if those ARE the males :eek: )
 

Stugy

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IMG_0306.JPG IMG_0307.JPG IMG_0309.JPG I just captured another widow but I can't tell whether it is a Brown Widow or a male L.hesperus. The hourglass is more red than orange.
 

Stugy

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-curses- well that's the first geo of the year. I think I'm getting to the point that I'll buy a male but I only have $5. How long can a female L.hesperus potentially live for? Or lifespan based on experience works too
 

Rick McJimsey

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After maturity, max 2 years, generally.

Also, that geo is extremely hungry/thirsty lol
 

Stugy

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Well it WAS in the worst spot in existence imo. It was hiding under some weird statue thing that my parents have in the backyard where literally nothing goes in. The last living thing in there was a dying weed. A DYING WEED. I practically saved it. I was planning to immediately feed it once it got comfortable and made a web.
 

Stugy

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Do brown widows predate on black widows?
From what I know, yes they do predate on black widows. There are barely any black widows in my specific area (they are practically nonexistent since the only 2 black widows I've seen were ones that I immediately captured). Brown widows are slowly (and already have) taken the place of black widows in my area so I am guessing they are eating them or more of them are surviving to maturity. Now thinking about it, it's more of a maybe. I've seen a brown widow walk into a black widow's own web and proceed to kill it in the past (in a different area).
 

Stugy

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Apr 21, 2016
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IMG_0427.JPG Caught my 3rd female. Still no luck on males. This girl is absolutely beautiful. I don't think the picture shows it but she kinda has a red stripe running down on top her abdomen.
 
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