Northern Black Widow, now found in Quebec

If you already hate spiders, this one will easily go in the "worst news ever" column.

Researchers at the Insectarium, McGill University and the University of Quebec in Rimouski found that the infamous black widow spider is now calling parts of Quebec home.

The group used photos taken by ordinary people, or "citizen scientists" to show the venomous spider has been making its way considerably further north than it had ever before.

"In effect, it was in integrating the data of citizen scientists with museum data by way of advanced modeling techniques that scientists were able to pool enough information to illuminate the northward evolution of the northern black widow's ecological niche" the team said.

Typically the spider is found in Mid-Atlantic States, and on the rare occasion has been spotted in southern Ontario, near Michigan. 

Scientists had predicted the black widow would begin shifting its range, and with recent discoveries the researchers found the spider as far north as Lac Saint-Pierre, 84 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

The exact cause of the move is not known, but experts believe climate change is a big reason.

"All black widow species trigger the collective imagination. But unlike the black-legged tick, which comprises a public-health issue, our northern black widow avoids humans, who represent a danger for it," researchers said. "Citizens therefore have no grounds for worry, bites from this species being extremely rare, and when they do happen the amount of venom injected is minimal."

You can read the report here.