Recognize this Spider?
Thank you for your question. It can be difficult to provide a positive identification on spiders based solely on a photograph, because you often can't see distinguishing characteristics necessary to be sure of the identity. The spider in your photographs looks like a female false black widow (Steatoda grossa). This genus is in the same family, Therididae, as the northern and southern black widows (Latrodectus variolus and Latrodectus mactans), however its bite is not considered to present a serious health risk to humans.
The cephalothorax, the portion of the spider that includes the head and the area where the legs attach to the body, varies from pale brown to black. The abdomen can be a dark purplish-brown with white markings on the dorsal side or solid black. The abdomen is also oval-shaped rather than the teardrop-shape of the true widows, and there is no red hourglass marking on the underside of the abdomen.
Here's a link for more information and photographs of this species:
Hope this answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.