Appearance''L. geometricus'' is slightly smaller and generally lighter in color than the black widow species; the color can range from tan to dark brown to black, with shades of grey also possible. Like the black widow species in the United States, ''L. geometricus'' has a prominent hourglass-shaped marking on the underside of the abdomen; the brown widow's hourglass, however, is usually a vivid orange or a yellowish color. Unlike the black widow, ''L. geometricus'' has a black-and-white geometric pattern on the dorsal side of its abdomen. They also have stripes on their legs.
Brown widows can be located by finding their egg sacs, which are easily identifiable. They resemble a sandspur, having pointed projections all over, and they are sometimes described as "tufted", "fluffy", or "spiky" in appearance. Eggs hatch in approximately 20 days. Female brown widows lay about 120–150 eggs per sac and can make 20 egg sacs over a lifetime.
NamingAs of 2012, researchers at the University of California, Riverside, suggested that the brown widow spider, newly established in Southern California, may in fact be displacing black widow spiders from the region, competing and/or fighting for territory. While certainly not definitive, this evidence does suggest that the brown widow is likely to be more hostile and aggressive towards its relative, the black widow, than the black widow is towards it. If that proves to be true, humans may be positively affected since brown widow bites are less toxic than those of black widows, thus posing less of a threat as they displace black widows over time.
DistributionThe brown widow has a cosmopolitan distribution. It is thought by some researchers to originate in South Africa, although this is uncertain, as specimens were discovered in both Africa and South America. They are usually found around buildings in tropical areas. They can compete with populations of the black widow spider. It is found in many areas of South Africa, the United States , Australia, Japan, the Dominican Republic, Cyprus, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Uruguay, and Brazil, and there have been sightings in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, and India .
PredatorsBecause ''L. geometricus'' is dispersed all around the globe, they have many predators. Brown widows are commonly preyed upon by different types of wasps, including mud daubers and digger wasps.
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