Happy Halloween! We’re getting into the spirit with some festive pumpkin carving. Spooky as this black widow pumpkin and her web are, there’s something wrong with this set of jack-o-lanterns.
It’s not her body segments: spiders have a cephalothorax (literally, “head-thorax” or “head-chest”) and an abdomen, with 4 pairs of legs attached to the cephalothorax.
It’s not her markings: she’s got the characteristic hourglass marking of the black widow on her abdomen. In real black widows, this is found on the underside of the abdomen.
It’s not her lack of eyes: because we can see her hourglass, we must be looking at her belly, and therefore can’t see her eyes. Black widows have 8 eyes, arranged in 2 rows of 4.
So what is it? It’s the web! Black widows weave cobweb-style webs that are asymmetric and lack patterns. A black widow’s web often has a funnel or dome-like structure where she sits and waits for prey, unlike the orb-web carved here, where the spider would sit in the center awaiting prey.
This web was woven by the aptly-named orb weaver spider in the middle. Harmless to humans, they are ubiquitous in the Pacific Northwest in autumn.
- Written By Alyssa Branca
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