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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: What is this Bug? 6 hours ago in Bug forum by jaguarondi jaguarondi
Re: Fossil identification help! 12 hours ago in Fossils and rocks by James James
Re: Lyme Regis finds 17 hours ago in Fossils and rocks by Dr T Dr T
Re: Fossil or Rock id please 20 hours ago in Fossils and rocks by Ki Ki
Re: What is this tree? 21 hours ago in Plants by lucy lucy
Re: Help! Can you identify this spider? 21 hours ago in Spiders by Florin - Museum ID team Florin - Museum ID team
Re: house invaders 22 hours ago in Bug forum by Twentyniner Twentyniner
Re: Strange markings on stone - fossil or crustacean marking? 22 hours ago in Fossils and rocks by Fiona - Museum ID team Fiona - Museum ID team
Re: Fossil plants feathery leaves in rocks from shore east of Kimmeridge bay 23 hours ago in Fossils and rocks by Fiona - Museum ID team Fiona - Museum ID team
Re: What kind of dinosaur does this upper jaw belong to? 23 hours ago in Fossils and rocks by Fiona - Museum ID team Fiona - Museum ID team
Re: Possible tooth fossil found! Please help ID 1 day ago in Fossils and rocks by Fiona - Museum ID team Fiona - Museum ID team
Re: Could anyone help? 1 day ago in Spiders by Florin - Museum ID team Florin - Museum ID team
Re: Fossil found at a beach in Cumbria 1 day ago in Fossils and rocks by Fiona - Museum ID team Fiona - Museum ID team
Re: Can I get an id for this grub/caterpillar 1 day ago in Caterpillars by Florin - Museum ID team Florin - Museum ID team
Re: What tree is this please? 1 day ago in Trees by madaboutplants madaboutplants
Re: Shell or Tooth? 1 day ago in On the seashore by jade_green jade_green
Re: White rock, leather like under side - found beach in Millport, Cumbrae 1 day ago in On the seashore by Steve Jelf Steve Jelf
Re: Looks like a young bird - but which one? 1 day ago in Identification by Steve Jelf Steve Jelf
I found this rock and fossil at Hanover Point Isle of Wight 1 day ago in Identification by debbsxx debbsxx
Green larva? 1 day ago in Identification by Swinders Swinders
Re: Unidentified "fly": is this a scorpion fly? 1 day ago in Bug forum by SeaPie SeaPie
Flower for ID please 1 day ago in Plants by Kestrel Kestrel
Re: Is this a fossil or just a pretty rock? 1 day ago in Fossils and rocks by FrednMol3415 FrednMol3415
Re: Stripped spider found - what is it? 1 day ago in Spiders by Jonathan - NaturePlus host Jonathan - NaturePlus host
Re: can anyone tell me what spider this is? 1 day ago in Bug forum by Jonathan - NaturePlus host Jonathan - NaturePlus host

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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