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Identification forums

Photograph of the brightly coloured and patterned Jersey tiger moth, Euplagia quadripunctaria, found in the museum Wildlife Garden.

Found a strange insect in your garden, an unusual plant in the park or a fossil on the beach? Get help identifying it.

Whether you are an amateur naturalist, an expert or just curious, you can ask - or answer - all sorts of questions about the UK's biodiversity and our team of Museum scientists are online to help.

New threads posted to any of the Identification forums are being moderated so there may be a delay before your message appears.

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Re: Shell or Tooth? 1 hour ago in On the seashore by jade_green jade_green
Re: White rock, leather like under side - found beach in Millport, Cumbrae 3 hours ago in On the seashore by Steve Jelf Steve Jelf
Re: Looks like a young bird - but which one? 4 hours ago in Identification by Steve Jelf Steve Jelf
Re: Unidentified "fly": is this a scorpion fly? 6 hours ago in Bug forum by SeaPie SeaPie
Re: Is this a fossil or just a pretty rock? 8 hours ago in Fossils and rocks by FrednMol3415 FrednMol3415
Re: Stripped spider found - what is it? 9 hours ago in Spiders by Jonathan - NaturePlus host Jonathan - NaturePlus host
Re: can anyone tell me what spider this is? 9 hours ago in Bug forum by Jonathan - NaturePlus host Jonathan - NaturePlus host
Re: Can anyone identify this spider? 9 hours ago in Spiders by Jonathan - NaturePlus host Jonathan - NaturePlus host
Re: Weevil identification request 10 hours ago in Beetles by lucy lucy
Please id this (parasitic ?) wasp 11 hours ago in Bug forum by Happy Days Happy Days
Re: Hastings/ st Leonard beach find stone or bone 11 hours ago in Fossils and rocks by Dr T Dr T
Re: Identification please. 11 hours ago in Beetles by Scamp Scamp
Re: What is this plant? 13 hours ago in Identification by Aggie Aggie
Re: whats this fly? 13 hours ago in Identification by knodty knodty
Re: Is this a violet helleborine? 13 hours ago in Plants by DrFred - Museum ID team DrFred - Museum ID team
Re: Whitebeams? 15 hours ago in Trees by lucy lucy
Re: Help/advice needed with helleborine problem. 16 hours ago in Plants by Grateful Grateful
Re: What is this tree? 16 hours ago in Plants by lucy lucy
Re: What plant is this? 1 day ago in Identification by Mike Mike
Re: Received plant identification question 1 day ago in Plants by Steve Jelf Steve Jelf
Re: Colourful Damselfly what name? 1 day ago in Bug forum by Hawkeye Hawkeye
Re: Damselflies Copulating are these the Common Blue species? 1 day ago in Bug forum by Hawkeye Hawkeye
Re: Does any one know what these beetles are? 1 day ago in Bug forum by Clare Clare
Re: What species is this bee/wasp?? 1 day ago in Bug forum by flecc flecc
Re: ID Please 1 day ago in Bug forum by flecc flecc

Don't panic: it's only a false widow spider

A noble false widow, Steatoda nobilis, recently submitted for identification by CornishGarden.

Museum ID expert Stuart Hine - aka bombuslucorum on the forums - tells the facts and debunks some of the myths surrounding the false widow spiders:

False widow spider is a common name for a group of species in the genus Steatoda. Spiders in this group are found worldwide, with several species being strongly associated with humans in our homes, towns and cities.

The Identification and Advisory Service has received more than a thousand enquiries about false widow spiders over the last 15 years. Enquiries increase significantly when a media report brings them to the attention of the public.

What are these spiders doing in the UK?

Seven species of false widow spiders are recorded in the UK. Four are native to the UK, two were accidentally introduced with traded goods and the other doesn't appear to be established here yet but is frequently imported.

What are the different false widow species?

Mistaken identities - no, it isn't a false widow

I've found one but should I be worried?

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These forums are looked after by scientists and experts in the Museum’s Identification and Advisory Service.

Our fossil, rock, plant and insect experts are dedicated to answering your natural history questions.

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