Black widow spiders, known for the hourglass shape on the abdomen, have distinct differences between the male and female sex. A female black widow has a more common appearance, because after mating she eats her mate.
Female black widow spiders grow much larger than the male of the species. In comparison to the female black widow, the male grows to one-fourth of her size. This makes eating the male after mating much easier.
A female black widow has a solid black coloring. During early stages of development, a female will have a gray or pale brown coloration. Likewise, the adult male shares the same coloration as an immature female. He typically has a brown or gray color.
The most recognizable trait on a black widow is the color of the hourglass shape on the abdomen. While males may have a small hourglass, it has a yellow or orange color, whereas the female has a large, red hourglass on her abdomen.