False widow spider, Steatoda paykulliana

Body size

Female to 15mm; male to 7mm.

Appearance

Often mistaken for Latrodectus species because of its shiny, black, globose abdomen (see Steatoda grossa). Distinguished by the crescent-shaped band of red, orange or yellow at the front of the abdomen (photo). The male is smaller and slimmer than the female.

Habitat, range and season

Under rocks and stones, in buildings and plantations. S Europe, N Africa and W Asia. Adult females probably all year; adult males in spring and autumn.

Web

A tangle-web with taut threads bearing sticky globules.

Bite report

The bite of the female is toxic to mammals but the venom, apparently neurotoxic, is weaker than that of Latrodectus (Maretic et al., 1964).

UK spider bites