Full Name: Black Button Spider (Family Theridiidae)
Other Names: Swart knopiespinnekoppe
Classification: MEDICALLY IMPORTANT
A widespread spider across much of South Africa. These spiders usually stay away from human dwellings and are found in natural habitats where they hide under rocks, in logs and bushes. They build a messy web where they often one or two large white eff sacs. The egg sacs are smooth and about the size of a pea. These spiders are pitch black, often with red on the top of the abdomen. The Abdomen is large and has red infusion above the spinneret – not under like the Brown Button Spider. They are inoffensive and when disturbed, drop to the floor in a tight ball with the legs tucked in. Bites are rare and usually occur to farm workers, especially in the vineyards of the Cape, where the workers are putting their hands into the thick vegetation and squashing the spiders. The venom is highly neurotoxic and causes pain, sweating, nausea, disorientation and shortness of the breath. A bite from a Black Button Spider is treatable and antivenom is available. No deaths have been recorded from bites of this species.