A poisonous spider is aggressively colonizing Southern California.
Now, take a deep breath: The spread of brown widows could actually be good thing.
Newly released research suggests nonnative brown widows are pushing out more dangerous (and native) western black widows. Most of the time, brown widows have a bite similar to that of common household spiders, producing only a red mark and slight pain, according to the Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside.
“The most common thing, anecdotally, that homeowners are saying is, ‘I used to have 3 or 4 black widows and now I have 10 to 15 brown widows,’” said Richard Vetter, a retired researcher at UC Riverside and lead author of a recent study about the interaction between the arachnids.
Learn more: U-T San Diego - Brown widows crawl across SoCal sprawl
Here’s how to tell the brown widow apart from the black widow:
“Unlike its starkly black-and-red colored relative, the black widow, the coloration of a brown widow consists of a mottling of tan and brown,” with the hourglass color being orange (instead of red).