Black Widow Spiders Are Heading North Due to Climate Change

As climate change warms the earth, black widow spiders are moving north.

The spiders are notorious, because venom is 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake’s. A bite can cause aches, pains, and paralysis of the diaphragm which make breathing difficult. 

In a study published in PLOS One on Wednesday, Canadian researchers reported that over the past 60 years the northernmost point black widow spiders live has moved 31 miles north, into southern Canada. The scientists believe that the spread of the spiders, which prefer a temperate climate, is due to climate change.

The team used citizen data to make updated species distribution maps for the spider. “In our project, the citizen science data was essential in modeling distributions of spiders,” Christopher Buddle, a co-author on the study and professor at McGill University, said in a statement. “People who are excited about discovering where species live can contribute in meaningful ways to scientific progress and this is exciting, important, and is changing how we do research.”