button spider, noun phrase

Origin:
See quotation c1939.
Any of several species of spider of the genus Latrodectus (family Theridiidae), especially L. mactans, the only S. African spider having a poisonous bite which is dangerous to humans. Also attributive.
1936 L.G. Green Secret Afr. 232While the most deadly type of button spider (Latrodectus indistinctus) does not seem to occur in the city of Cape Town, other species are often found in houses. They have small, round, shiny black bodies, and many display a red spot on the underside or the back.
c1939 S.H. Skaife S. Afr. Nature Notes 221The name ‘button spider’ apparently refers to the rounded abdomen, something like an old-fashioned shoe-button. The scientific name, Latrodectus indistinctus, means the ‘secret biter with the indistinct markings.’
1947 L.G. Green Tavern of Seas 122One spider in the Cape Peninsula possesses venom four times more virulent, bulk for bulk, than that of the cobra...As far as the scientists know, only the female button spider is deadly.
1967 R.F. Lawrence in E. Rosenthal Encycl. of Sn Afr. 528The bite of only one species in South Africa is dangerous to man, the ‘button spider’ Latrodectus, and serum against the poison is prepared in most of the tropical and semi-tropical countries it inhabits.
1968 J.H. Yates Spiders of Sn Afr. 125The scientific name for the button spider was, for many years, Latrodectus indistinctus...Recent investigations reveal that our indistinctus is identical with the L. mactans or black widow spider of America, the Katipo of New Zealand and the red backed spider of Australia, Arabia and other countries. All these spiders are now regarded as varieties of the L. mactans.
1973 Weekend Argus 14 Feb. (Mag. Sect.) 6If you are going to carry anti-button-spider serum in your knapsack whenever you go out of town, then you might just as well carry anti-mamba [serum], anti-adder serum, anti-cobra serum, anti-boomslang serum.
1984 C. Groenewald in S. Afr. Panorama Mar. 46Remains of beetles are often found in the nest of the button spider.
1991 I. & F. De Moor Informants, GrahamstownButton spider — Black widow spider.
Any of several species of spider of the genus Latrodectus (family Theridiidae), especially L. mactans, the only S. African spider having a poisonous bite which is dangerous to humans. Also attributive.
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