Brown widow spider found for the first time in Oregon

OREGON CITY, Ore. – A venomous spider species, believed to originate in Africa, has been found in Oregon.

A brown widow spider was discovered at a property in Oregon City last month, the Oregon Department of Agriculture said. This is the first confirmed case of the spider being in Oregon. ODA doesn’t know how the spider arrived in the state.

According to ODA, the brown widow is similar in appearance to the black widow spider, already ubiquitous in many areas of the state. However, the brown widow is lighter in color and has an orange hourglass shape on its abdomen.

The Center for Invasive Species Research at the University of California Riverside said differentiating black widows and brown widows is quite difficult, as immature spiders appear very similar due to “tremendous” variations as they grow from spiderlings to adults.

UC Riverside said the easiest way to tell the difference between black and brown widows is through their egg sacks. Brown widows have “spikes” on their egg sacks, whereas black widow egg sacks appear smooth.

ODA said brown widows have neurotoxic venom similar to black widows and bites can be “medically significant.”

If you think you’ve found a brown widow, contact the ODA at [email protected] or 503-986-4636

For more information about identifying brown widows, visit http://cisr.ucr.edu/identifying_brown_widow_spiders.html

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