What does Latrodectus mean?

black widow spider
   Latrodectus is a genus of comb-footed spiders that includes the notorious black widow (L. mactans) of the Americas, la malmignatte (L. tredecimguttatus) of Italy and Corsica, the katipo (L. hasselti) of New Zealand and other allies from tropical and temperate regions of the whole world, justly feared in all ages for their venomous hites. The coal-black females, often about one half inch long, have globose abdomens usually variegated above with bright red stripes and almost invariably below by a red x-shaped, or hourglass, marking. The much smaller males are reputed not to bite and occasionally are killed by their mates. The venom of Latrodectus, said to be most toxic by volume among all venomous creatures, is fortified with neurotoxins that cause severe systemic distress (sharp pains centering in the abdomen, nausea, faintness, etc., followed by difficulty of breathing, cyanosis and prostration) but a fatal outcome is quite a rarity. Most dangerous of all is the black widow, widespread in both North and South America, which spins a coarse, irregular web in dark situations outside or in buildings and hangs upside down among the lines, exposing the red hourglass marking.