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First black widow spider documented in Brown Co.

Shane Magle and his girlfriend, Stephanie Lardo, of New Franken, found a black widow spider on a red storage container outside their home, June 13, 2017. (Photos courtesy of Stephanie Lardo)

NEW FRANKEN, Wis. (WLUK) -- A rare discovery was made by a Brown County, Wisconsin couple Monday.

Shane Magle says he saw a black widow spider hanging out on his New Franken property after he came home from work.

He said he let the dog out and then glanced over to see a black object on a red storage container. When he got a closer look, Magle had an idea it might be a black widow, even though he's never seen one in the two years he's lived there.

He said he left it right where it was until his girlfriend, Stephanie Lardo, got home so she could get a good look at it too.

She took a few pictures, and then contacted entomologist and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Michael Draney.

"I went and got a container and put it in a container so everyone would believe me that I actually found this thing," Magle said.

Draney confirmed to FOX 11, the spider is in fact an adult female northern black widow (Latrodectus variolus). He also said he believes it's the only one ever recorded in Brown County.

Draney says the body of a black widow is about the size of a grape. He said there have been reports of them in the state, but that they're not common. He said the bite is quite painful, but it's rarely fatal.

Draney wanted to stress, to his knowledge, there's never been a documented black widow bite in Wisconsin. He said they usually bite when they're squeezed and that their main defense when provoked is to play dead.

And in case you're wondering, the northern widow rarely eats her mate.

But the one found by Magle and Lardo will no longer be biting anything.

The spider's already been preserved for posterity by Draney, making her the first, and now famous, black widow of Brown County.

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Editor's note: A previous headline on this story incorrectly stated that the northern black widow is not native to Brown County. This has been corrected.

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