Hey BW- From what I have learned about the genus Latrodectus, there are 5 named species in the US.Originally Posted by [b
L. mactans (Southern Black Widow) range from southern New Engand to Florida, west to Texas and Kansas. More common in the southern part of the range.
L. variolus (Northern Black Widow) range from New England to adjacent Canada, south to Florida and west to eastern Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. More common in the northern range.
L. hesperus (Western Black Widow) Found throughout California. Range from western portions of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, north to adjacent Canadian provinces and west to Pacific Coast states.
Two other species - L. bishopi (Red Widow) and L. geostricus (Brown Widow) are typically restricted to a more southern distribution, ie. southern Texas, central/south Florida.
Here in California we have 3 named species of the giant orb weavers; genus: Argiope.
A.aurantia (Golden Garden Spider), A. trifasciata (Banded Garden Spider) and A. argentata (Silver Orb Spider), the most beautiful of them all. The former species is more resticted to a southern range; San Luis Obispo county onward south. I have both other species: A. aurantia and A. trifasciata in my garden currently.
They're very difficult to find because they belnd in so well with the shrubs and bushes they spin their webs in. They are also not very abundant if the food sources are minimal. I get them here every year probably because of all the pitcher plants and the constant buzzing activity from flies, bees, etc., but never really see them until the big females move in around this time of year. They tend to catch lots of bees and skippers.
Just thought I'ld share. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]