The black widow spider (latrodoctus hesperus) can be easily identified by its dark black bulbous body and red hourglass marking located beneath its abdomen. The immature black widow and male black widow are smaller in size than mature females, and will in general have white, yellow, and red spots/bands over the back.
Though more common to Eastern Washington, we do occasionally find black widows in Western Washington. Typically found in dark outdoor places such as sheds, privies, garages, beneath homes, and in littered areas, the shy black widow spins amorphous webs. Its venom is a nerve toxin, and its bite has been described as a burning sensation that can last for a few minutes after the initial bite.
The pain typically then progresses through the bitten limb and localizes to a certain degree in the back and abdomen, causing muscles to stiffen and become rigid. This is usually accompanied by abdominal cramping, along with other symptoms that may include tremors, nausea, speech defects, insomnia, depression, and a rise in temperature. These symptoms may manifest within minutes or hours of the bite, and while it can be painful, it is not often fatal.