False widow or cellar spider, Steatoda grossa

Body size

Female to 10mm; male to 6mm.


Black, or purplish brown, with a vague pattern of pale markings (a semi-circle and 3 spots) on the rotund abdomen (female, photo). The body never shows any red. The male is smaller, slimmer and unlikely to bite.

Habitat, range and season

Dark corners, outbuildings, hollow trees and caves. Cosmopolitan: Europe, Asia, N and S America. In the UK, commonest in SW England. Adult females occur all year.


A tangle-web, with taut threads bearing sticky globules.

First recorded in the UK


Bite report

'Sharp pain in toe; began to swell rapidly, became red with throbbing pain. The redness spread to the foot then began to regress after 12 hours.'

UK spider bites