Alee Huerta of our Master Naturalist chapter sent me this picture of a Brown Widow spider. Although somewhat blurry when she photographed through a clear plastic box (a very reasonable precaution), it is still quite identifiable. She said that "It was super fast compared to how a Black Widow moves. Its web was very dense and it had multiple ant carcasses in there that it had been feasting on."
|Brown Widow dorsal view - Bill & Mark Bell CC|
|Brown Widow egg sac - Wikipedia|
Some evidence suggests that they are more aggressive than their black cousins and are displacing them in California. This may be good news for us as they are have a less toxic venom and their bites less serious. Either way, Widow spider bites are unpleasant and painful although rarely lethal.
| Click to enlarge -INaturalist|
|World wide distribution - Donald W. Hall, Entnemdept.ufl.edu|
* Yes, we are the only species that has covered the entire globe in its 4.5 billion year history. That "fun fact" and many others come from Darwin Comes to Town, a book that I would highly recommend. It focuses on the fact that evolution is occurring much faster than we ever dreamed.