What spider has a red dot on its back?

In this brief guide, we’ll address the search query: “What spider has a red dot on its back?” Also, we’ll explore where black widows are distributed, how venomous they are, what they prey on, and what to do if you’ve been bitten by a black widow. 

What spider has a red dot on its back? 

Many spiders can have red markings on their back, and more information may be needed to accurately determine what type of spider our readers may be alluding to. 

However, among the most commonly referred to spiders, and one that is indeed distinguishable due to its red marking on the abdomen, is the black widow (Latrodectus sp.). 

Their trademark is a red marking on their abdomen that many find reminiscent of an hourglass. There are many species of black widows, and throughout the years, they’ve racked up a notorious reputation as being among the most venomous spiders.

It’s important to note that a lot of their reputation is built on misconceptions. While black widows are venomous, black widow bites are a rarity and healthy people can overcome them with no permanent damage.

Below, we will explore some facts about black widows.

Where are black widows distributed? 

Black widows are distributed throughout temperate regions in the world. They can be found throughout the American continent (North and South) in Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. 

So long as conditions are stable, they can be found in various environments such as forests, arid landscapes such as deserts, meadows, pastures, and even in urban locations such as secluded corners, closets, basements, storehouses, etc. 

Due to their seemingly ubiquitous nature, around 2500 bites are recorded annually in the US, though with a very low mortality rate.

How venomous are black widows? 

Black widows are among the most venomous spiders in the world, and pound for pound, their venom is reputed to be 15 times more toxic than rattlesnake venom. 

Black widows bite, and inject their prey with a neurotoxin known as alpha-latroxin, which as its group type indicates, affects a person’s nervous system. 

However, the exact lethal dose for a human being has yet to be discerned. This is because in the rare events where a person dies from a spider bite, oftentimes they had underlying conditions that made them susceptible to the spider’s venom. 

A black widow bite that is charged with enough venom or injected into a person that isn’t at peak health, can cause Latrodectism– an illness characterized by stiffness in the muscles, vomiting, perspiration (sweating), and considerable pain. 

Other symptoms of Latrodectism may include headaches, dizziness, and lethargy (exhaustion). 

A Doctor can diagnose Latrodectism by examining a patient for physical marks of a spider bite, analyzing the places where the pain is located, and taking a patient’s symptoms into account.

A doctor’s diagnosis can also depend on whether or not a patient caught or otherwise glimpse of the spider that bit them. In cases where the patient is uncertain of what type of spider bit them, there is a risk of misdiagnosing Latrodectism. 

What do black widows prey on? 

Black widows feed off of whatever insects are caught on their webs. However, in addition to insects, they have also been known to prey on diplopods, woodlice, chilopods, and other arachnids. 

During the daytime, females usually are found on their web, where they display their red hourglass as a warning to potential predators. 

When one of the beforementioned prey gets caught in their web, the spider will then wrap it in silk, bite it, take it to her nest and consume it. 

Spiders use their cheliceral teeth to grind their prey, after which enzymes that digest the prey are secreted onto it. 

Once the prey is fully digested, the spider will suction the resulting nutrients. In this case, the digestion process is external to the spider’s body.

What should I do if I’ve been bitten by a black widow? 

If one is confident they have been bitten by a black widow if possible, the specimen should be recovered and brought along with the patient to the ER for confirmation by a physician. A trip to the emergency room is necessary; it should not exceed 2 hours after the incident, as symptoms often worsen within a few hours. 

If there is extreme pain or symptoms are life-threatening, the most common course of treatment suggested by the attending physician is the use of antivenom administered intravenously. However, the use of antivenom is still under debate and will usually be confirmed by medical toxicologists on site. 

Alternative treatment methods include analgesics, ranging from Tylenol to a combination of morphine and diazepam, depending on the severity of pain. The attending physician will monitor the patient’s symptoms and decide the best course of action. This often includes a follow-up visit a few days after treatment to verify there are no adverse side effects to the treatment.


In this brief guide, we’ve addressed the search query: “What spider has a red dot on its back?” Also, we’ve explored where black widows are distributed, how venomous they are, what they prey on, and what to do if you’ve been bitten by a black widow.