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Latrodectus bishopi is the scientific name for the red widow spider, which is endemic to certain habitats of central and southern Florida, where it lives primarily in sand dunes dominated by sand pine, Pinus clausa – a type of vegetation found only in peninsular Florida.

Red widow spider
Latrodectus bishopi.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Araneomorphae
Family: Theridiidae
Genus: Latrodectus
Species: L. bishopi
Binomial name
Latrodectus bishopi
Kaston, 1938[1]



The species was first described in 1938 by B. J. Kaston as the variety bishopi of the species Latrodectus mactans.[1][2] The name bishopi honors Marshall B. Bishop who collected the specimens on which the description was based.[2] Latrodectus bishopi was raised to a full species in 1964 by John D. McCrone and Herbert W. Levi.[1] It can be distinguished from L. mactans by features of the male and female genitalia: the embolus of the male palpal bulb has one fewer loop as do the connecting ducts leading to the female spermatheca.[3]


The red widow, L. bishopi, has a red-orange cephalothorax, its abdomen is black with yellow rings outlining the rows of red spots and its legs are vermillion red. On its underside, it does not have the familiar hourglass marking, but a small red bar.[citation needed]Females are much bigger than males almost double the size of them.


L. bishopi is believed to be venomous like the other Latrodectus members, though no bites by this spider are recorded in the medical literature; unlike cosmopolitan species such as the black and brown widows, it seldom comes into contact with humans. The LD50 has been measured in mice as 2.20 mg/kg (with a confidence interval of 1.29-3.74), and each spider contains about 0.157 mg.[4]

Threatened species

L. bishopi is a threatened species in the United States.[citation needed]

Distribution and habitatEdit

L. bishopi is endemic to central and southern Florida. It is restricted to sand-pine scrub – inland areas of dry sand dunes dominated by sand pine, Pinus clausa. Within these areas, the species makes most of its webs in palmetto bushes (Serenoa repens and Sabal etonia) at heights of 30 cm or more above the ground.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Taxon details Latrodectus bishopi Kaston, 1938". World Spider Catalog. Natural History Museum Bern. Retrieved 2016-01-31. 
  2. ^ a b Kaston, B.J. (1938). "Notes on a new variety of black widow spider from southern Florida". Florida Entomologist. 21 (4): 60–62. doi:10.2307/3492683. 
  3. ^ a b McCrone, J.D. & Levi, H.W. (1964). "North American widow spiders of the Latrodectus curacaviensis group (Araneae: Theridiidae)". Psyche. 71: 12–27. doi:10.1155/1964/86469. 
  4. ^ McCrone, J.D. (1964). "Comparative lethality of several Latrodectus venoms". Toxicon. 2 (3): 201–203. doi:10.1016/0041-0101(64)90023-6. 

External linksEdit