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Red Widow Spider
(Lactrodectus bishopi)
by Jon Fouskaris & Todd Gearheart

Red Widow Spider
ADULT FEMALE
Specimen provided by Frank Somma.

Photo taken by Jon Fouskaris.

       Red Widow Spiders are unique spiders from a small range in Florida, USA. They are only found in three scrub palmetto habitats, and due to development and destruction of these habitats, Red Widow Spiders are listed as a species of "special concern". Definitely the rarest widow spider in the United States, and the most colorful, a Red Widow Spider is a treat in any collection. The unique habitat in which it is found has 200' of sandy soil that allows for good drainage and the scrub palmettos are very leathery and able to re-stand drought conditions. Stagnant, high humidity will kill them easily. Red Widow Spiders should only be kept by advanced hobbyists, scientists, and educational professionals due to their dangerous venom. This species is one of the world's most colorful true spiders and makes an excellent display arachnid. It is very important to simulate their unique habitat and climatic conditions in order to successfully keep them. Buying only captive-born spiderlings/juveniles is highly encouraged to keep from over-collecting this rare species. Spiderlings grow very quick. Feeding them wingless fruit flies and true "pin-head" crickets twice a week will ensure you get an adult in as little as 3 to 4 months. As the tarantula hobby expands, more keepers are recognizing true spiders such as the Red Widow Spider as great display animals. A Red Widow Spider is a rare showcase spider for a deserving keeper, and should be cherished by anyone who has one.
Range Dry scrub palmetto habitats of Florida.
Type Arboreal.
Diet Spiderlings eat flightless fruit flies, and pinhead crickets. Adults eat crickets, and other large insects.
Full Grown Size 1 to 1.5 inches.
Growth Fast speed.
Temperature 78 to 85 F.
Humidity 40 to 60%.
Temperament Semi-aggressive and nervous.
Housing Spiderlings can live in a small clear plastic container with a hole in the center of the lid that is stuffed with a piece of cotton. Adults can live in a 2.5-gallon tank. Height is more important than floor space.
Substrate 1 to 2 inches of sand.
Decor Branches, vines, air plants, etc. make good hiding places and provide a base for the web.
Other Names Florida Red Widow Spider.

*Please note that ALL true spiders have a certain amount of venom. This species happens to have very strong venom. If you get bitten by it, there is a chance that you will die. This is one of the reasons that people should not handle this true spider. Affects of this true spiders' natural defenses may vary between people. This true spider is dangerous, so be very careful!

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