We Dreamers all chipped in to fill the U-Haul. As I was walking out of the barn with a piece of son's drafting table under my arm and a shelf or two in my other hand, son, walking beside me, asked me to stop. He bent over to examine the oh, so very cool, very neat spider on the piece of the table that I was carrying. Oh my!
The spider was huge, by Colorado standards. The abdomen was the size of a large, swollen pea.
The spider was shiny. It would rival any well polished gangster car.
The spider had cute dimples on its butt. Four of them that I could see.
Mr. Dreamer sauntered up with his load, and commented, that yeah, he had seen another three or so spiders drop from the piece I was carrying and scurry under my feet. Oh, joyful day.
We discussed the spider, standing there in a cluster, still holding onto our various pieces of furniture.
"Wow!" says Dreaming, "it sure is shiny."
"Neat!" says Mr. Dreamy, "it sure is big!"
"Cool!" says the littler Dreamer, "stand still so I can get a picture."
"Naw!" says Dreaming, who has seen Black Widows hiding in the corners of the garage at her home in South Carolina. "This spider is far too big to be a Black Widow."
"But," says the littler Dreamer, "let's look to see if it has a red hourglass under the abdomen." And, with the cooperation of Dreaming, he begins to poke at the spider (with a stick) to try to get it to roll over so we can take a peek. The spider won't comply. She is a modest creature and won't roll over for just anyone! She finally decides to let go of her home, drops to the ground, and quickly disappears in the crevices of the gravel drive.
We went on to finish the packing. But, that doesn't mean that Dreaming stopped thinking about that spider. Dreaming continued to think about that spider. And unlike so many things that she says she is going to look up on the Internet, and then forgets…
she didn't forget to look up "large, shiny, black spiders in Colorado".
Looking at images displayed on Google, Dreaming clicked on the one that was the most similar to the creature on the board. Bingo…
Image from Desert USA
Dimples and all!
Let me introduce you to the western version of the Black Widow spider. From the Desert USA Web site I learned that Black Widows
- generally live close to the ground - the furniture was stored on a tarp, leaning up against the wall of our dirt-floored barn.
- can be up to 1 1/2" long (including legs)
- come in different 'flavors'; L hesperus is common in the western states and is found in the deserts. L. macrons is the black widow found in the eastern and central US.
- rarely bite, but are indeed poisonous - however, most often not enough venom is injected to cause death.