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Spider Photos - Button Spiders

Here's some photos of  Button Spiders as well as links to Black and Brown Widows and Redbacks.  In southern Africa, the button spiders (elsewhere in the world known as widow spiders) are the most important group of medical importance. Six species occur there, belonging to the genus Latrodectus of the family Theridiidae. The button spiders can be divided into the black button spider complex (4 species.) and the brown button spider complex (2 species.). The button spiders have round abdomens with slender legs of which the third pair of legs is the shortest. Their colour varies from cream to pitch black between species. The markings on the abdomen also vary from stripes to spots. In adult females the markings become less distinct. The patterns on the ventral side of the abdomen vary from having none to one with a distinct red hourglass pattern. Males are much smaller than females and the markings on their abdomen consist of red or white bands. The female button spider constructs her web, which contains a funnel-shape retreat on one side, usually close to the ground in bushes or under debris. The egg sacs are creamy-white and vary in shape from round and smooth to fluffy or spiky. The female frequently kills the male after mating, hence the common name "widow spiders". The female produces more than one egg sac per season usually during the summer months. The egg sacs are attached with silk to the side of the web. The spiderlings hatch after a week or more and one egg sac can contains more than 100 spiders. They disperse by wind and construct their own webs. They undergo between 7-9 moults before reaching adulthood and can live between 12-18 months. They feed on a variety of insects such as beetles and termites.
For other types of spiders please select a section below:
 Here's some photos sent in by viewers.
Unidentified Spiders 2017 Unidentified Spiders 2016 Unidentified Spiders 2015
Unidentified Spiders 2014 Unidentified Spiders 2013 Unidentified Spiders 2012
Unidentified Spiders 2011 Unidentified Spiders 2010 Unidentified Spiders 2009 (1)
Unidentified Spiders 2009 (2) Unidentified Spiders 2008 (1) Unidentified Spiders 2008 (2)
Unidentified Spiders 2007 (1) Unidentified Spiders 2007 (2) Unidentified Spiders 2007 (3)
Unidentified Spiders 2006 (1) Unidentified Spiders 2006 (2) Unidentified Spiders 2006 (3)
Unidentified Spiders 2005 (1) Unidentified Spiders 2005 (2) Unidentified Spiders 2005 (3)
Unidentified Spiders 2004 (1) Unidentified Spiders 2004 (2) Unidentified Spiders 2003
Unidentified Spiders 2002 Unidentified Spiders 2001  
Spiders in Amber Closeups Ant & Wasp Mimicking Spiders
Argiopes/St. Andrew's Cross Barn Funnel Weaving Spider Basilica  Spiders
Bird Dropping Spiders Black & Brown House Spiders Bolas Spiders
Brown Recluse Spiders Candy Stripe Spiders Common House Spider
Crab Spiders Cyclosa Conica Daddy Long Legs
Daring Jumping Spiders Dew Drop Spiders Fishing Spiders
Funnel Web (Aus) Furrow Spider Garden Orb Weavers
Ghost Spider Giant House Spider Golden Orb Weavers
Grass spiders/Funnel Weavers Ground Spiders Hacklemesh Weavers
Hobo Spiders Huntsman Spiders Jewelled Spiders
Jumping Spiders Lace Web  Spiders Ladybird Spiders
Leaf Curling Spiders Long Jawed Orb Weavers Lynx Spiders
Marbled Orb Weavers Micarathena Mouse Spiders
Mygalomorphs Net casting Spider Neoscona Semarak
Nursery Web Spiders Parson Spiders Pirate Spiders
Pseudoscorpion Purseweb Spider Red & Black Spiders
Redback Spiders Red Spotted Ant Mimic Spiders Running Crab Spiders
Scorpion Spiders Segestria Florentina Solfugids/Camel Spiders
Southern House Spiders Spider Tats Spitting Spiders
Steatoda Tailless Whip Scorpions Tarantulas
Tengellid Spiders Titiotus (Recluse look alike) Two Spined Spiders
Trapdoor Spiders Tree Trunk Spider Venusta Orchard Spiders
Wandering Spiders White Tailed Spider Widow Spiders
Wolf Spiders Woodlouse Hunters Yellow & Broad faced Sac Spiders
Zoropsis spinimana

Zygiella x-notata

Brown Widow Black Widow Redback Button Spiders


 The black button spider complex contains the following four species: Latrodectus cinctus, L. indistinctus, L. karooensis and L. renivulvatus and they are regarded as the more venomous group. Although no documented records exist of fatality due to black button spider bites, they have the potential to cause severe symptoms with small children and elderly people being at greatest risk. The black button spiders are black with red patterns on top of the body. The markings vary between species from stripes to spots. In adult females the markings become less distinct. There are no markings on the ventral side of the abdomen in adults. The egg sacs in all four species are creamy-white, round and smooth.

The brown button spider complex contains two species and they are regarded as less venomous: L. geometricus and L. rhodesiensis. They are very similar in appearance to the black buttons but their colour varies from cream, grey and brown to pitch black. The ventral surface of the abdomen in both species has a prominent red to orange hourglass marking, while the dorsal surface is covered with an intricate geometrical pattern in the paler specimens. A potential source of confusion with respect to the identification of these two species is that the most venomous species in Europe and America have the same red hourglass pattern as the two less venomous species found here. · Latrodectus geometricus is an introduced species and very common in Southern Africa and is usually found in built-up areas, especially around houses and outbuildings. They construct a funnel-shape retreat in dark corners with silk threads radiating outwards. The egg sac is characteristic in having a spiky appearance.  (Info: Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman)



Reply: Be careful, this is a female brown widow  or brown button spider as you call them in South Africa, with her egg sacs - glen

9 August, 2017:
Hi, I was wondering if you could help me identify the spider & egg sacs in the photo. I live in South Africa & have small children so wanted to find out if they were dangerous as I've found multiple egg sacs around the house. Thanks so much Stacey


Reply: Be careful, this is a brown widow  or brown button spider as you call them in South Africa - glen

7 May, 2015:
Hi there. You will probably be able to help me identify this spider. Found it at my brother in-laws house and he reckons its the second one he found. He has 3 kids so he is a bit concerned. Can you give some information about it? He lives in Sybrand Park in Athlone Cape Town virtually next to the Lisbeek river. Thanks in advance.


4 August, 2013:
Dear Glen I live in Pretoria, South Africa, and have spotted an interesting-looking spider that I hope you can identify for me. The first two photos are the ones I took (the one of the spider busy covering her eggs in a sac). I found the second one on this website: . It looks slightly similar to “mine”, but I can’t be sure. I had a brief look at your website but could not see any photos that looked similar – so, seeing that you provide an email address, I decided to write to you. Thank you in advance for letting me know what kind of spider it is. Also, if you could let me know a bit about the spider, I would appreciate it – specifically, whether the mother needs to eat while she keeps an eye on the eggs. I ask this because I would like to try to get her and the eggs into a jar so that I can observe them. I live in a block of flats (apartments), and the spider is in a public area of the block, where there is a good chance that someone might see her and kill her. I would like to prevent this and, at the same time, to learn by observing the hatching process. But if she needs to eat and I have her in a jar, I might kill her myself despite my good intentions. J So, any information you could provide would be useful. Sincerely Kirsten Eksteen. PS: most of the eggs that I saw when I Googled “brown widow spider eggs” are covered in “prickles”, whereas the one in my photograph is more or less smooth; but there were also a few smoother ones on the Internet – so the matter remains inconclusive so far.

Reply: This looks like a brown widow spider but I can't see the underneath to see ifit has the red/orange hour glass which would positively ID it- glen



Reply: This is a button spider, the SA version of the black widow - glen 

8 September, 2012:
Hello I'm Christian I saw on the internet your web page and wondered if you can help me ? I live on a farm in south Africa and a while ago I was walking in the field when I lifted a rock and founded the spider in the picture

Click for a closeup

Reply: This looks like a button spider, the SA version of the black widow - glen
20 November, 2011:
Hi Glen We realize that you may not know our spiders as well as thx Americwn ones and were wondering if you could assist in identifying this one. My son awoke to find this on his pillow in a hotel room in Bloemfontein, Free State Province, South Africa. It has a very hot and dry climate. We feel reasonably sure it may be a black widow since there appear to be many variants of them. We have contacted the Spider club here, they can't help us. Many thanks Liz
2 December, 2009:
Hey. Cool site. Here is a brown button spider that scared me almost to death. I was cleaning some stuff and suddenly she startded running towards my feet. I also realized when taking the photos that this was a big one. About the size of my thumb. note also that when she was playing dead I could take a photo of her abdomen. I live in south Africa, Johannesburg. Cheers. Vaughn


Reply: It looks like the South African verion of the black widow called a button spider - glen

10 May, 2009:
Hi This ones been living in my kitchen in Namibia. Any ideas? Thanks Ben


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