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How the Black Widow Spider Received its Name

The black widow spider received its name due to a story about its mating behaviors. Courtship begins when males go out in search of receptive females. Upon approaching a web-spinning female, the male spider will wait for an indication of her willingness: females interested in mating remain still, allowing males to inseminate them.

As the story goes, following insemination, female black widow spiders kill and feed upon their mates. This story led to the black widow’s name. However, it is a misconception that all female black widows kill and consume their mates. Rather, this behavior is typically only observed in captivity.

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