The Brown Widow (Latrodectus geometricus), also known as the Brown Button Spider, Geometric Button Spider, or Gray Widow, is a species of arachnid that is related to the famous Black Widow Spider. The Brown Widow is found in the northern and southern United States. States include Florida, Alabama, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. It is also found in some regions in Japan, Australia, South Africa and Cyprus. The origins of the species is unknown as it was independently discovered in both Africa and the Americas. They are commonly found in buildings.
The color of the Brown Widow can range from tan to dark brown or even black, though its generally lighter in color than the Black Widow. Some shades of gray have also been recorded in this species. There is an “hourglass” marking on the underside of the abdomen. This hourglass is orange or yellow in color. There is also a black and white geometric pattern on the upper side of the abdomen. The pattern is not always visible, especially as the spider darkens in color over time.
An easy way to find a Brown Widow is by searching for the easily identifiable egg sac. The egg sacs resemble sandspur (having pointy projections all over that resemble small spikes). The eggs hatch in about 20 days.
The neurotoxic venom of this species has been reported as being more potent than that of the Black Widow, but is usually confined to the bite area and surrounding tissue. Other sources believe the toxin is less venomous. Either way, people that have been bitten describe the experience as quite painful. Extreme care should be taken when playing or working in areas that this species are abundant.