The third widow spider on this list is the red widow, or red-legged widow. The spider’s appearance is distinguished from other widow spiders by its reddish cephalothorax and legs and its reddish-brown to black colored abdomen. Many red widows have a red mark on the underside of the abdomen, which may be either hourglass-shaped, triangle-shaped, or indistinct. The top of the abdomen is spotted red or orange, with each spot surrounded by a yellow or white outline. The legspan of an adult female is 1.5-2 inches, whereas the male is only about one-third of that size.
Currently, red widow spiders inhabit palmetto-dominated scrublands in central and southern Florida; however, some experts believe that this range may be expanding. The spider feeds on insects, and it is not considered to be aggressive toward people. However, it has been known to bite when it is protecting its eggs or when it is trapped against a person’s skin by clothes or footwear. The bite of the red widow is similar to that of the black widow, and identical symptoms (pain, cramping, nausea, etc.) typically result. Likewise, death from a red widow bite is rare, since the spider injects such a small amount of venom. Very young children, the elderly, and people with health problems are most vulnerable to red widow spider bites.