The female Southern black widow is a shiny black spider with a distinctive red hourglass on the abdomen. The Southern black widow has a complete hourglass, while the Western species’ hourglass can vary from two connected triangles to separated triangles to a minimum of barely visible red blotches.
Typical outdoor habitats in which spiders are often found include wood and rock piles, rodent burrows, and hollow tree stumps. Indoor habitats include outhouses, garages, sheds, and basements. In nature, most bites occur while reaching under an object that the spider inhabits such as a woodpile or stones. While working in or around areas of suitable habitat for these spiders, wearing gardening gloves can help prevent envenomation. Additionally, use caution when working in sheds and barns where spiders can be found.
Adults of both sexes are similar in appearance and size, ranging from about 7 to 12 mm in body length. Adult females average slightly larger, about 9 mm compared to about 8 mm for adult males. The carapace is pale yellow to reddish brown, with a dusky brown patch just in front of the median groove (which is encompassed by a narrow, dark line); this patch is united to the front of the carapace by dusky brown stripes. In total, these markings appear in the form of a violin. In addition, three dusky patches may occur along the margin on each side. The sternum is yellowish, with other ventral body parts of the cephalothorax darker reddish brown
They definitely seemed to prefer dry conditions. Brown recluse spiders usually bite only when they become trapped next to the victim’s skin. Bites occur either when sleeping humans roll onto the spider or put on clothes into which the spider has crawled. Persons who suspect they have been bitten by a brown recluse spider bite are strongly encouraged to consult with a physician as soon as possible.