As usual I am suffering from self doubt on my Steatoda ID's. To me this very large female appears to be a noblis with its shield marking on the abdomen, but when I keep looking at it it could also be a bipunctata with the pale band around the front of the abdomen but then again its general 'legginess' looks a little grossa but the legs look too red (noblis) and not stripy like bipunctata. I GIVE UP! This should be a b****y easy ID Please help, anyone?
Happy New Year Lewis - may 2012 bring you untold fortune in rare and fascinating invertebrates.
This lady will be nobilis; bipunctata is weeny by comparison with particularly well fed examples looking somewhat tick-like due to their grossness vs. their shorter legs. The legs on this one are also quite reddish and have a slight speckled appearance due to the raised pimples that the legs are covered in (not sure what these are actually called - but I'm looking into this). The classic nobilis abdominal marking can also just about be seen, particularly the anterior end of the abdomen. As I say it is mostly jizz having noted the variation within each species after having checked the definitive palps and epigynes.
Thanks Bombus and a happy new year to you, your family and team at the NHM.
Ok then who is this chap? Found in the bath, red legs, red/brown cephalothorax, grey / beige abdomen. 30mm leg span. I think possible sub or adult male grossa, how about you? Sorry about the colour balance.