This spider crawled out of a throw on my settee! I don't remember seeing anything quite like it before. In shape it is rather like pictures of a Black Widow, but with no red. Body (cephalothorax and abdomen ) is about .8-1cm in length. Against the throw the picture looks as if it's brown but was more of a glossy black. In some of the pictures it's in a blue plastic box that I put it in. I was going to put it outside, but it is Sooo cold today and it scrunched itself up and became very still as soon as it felt the cold air.
Any ID? What's the best kind of place to put it so that it can keep out of my way and mind its own business till the spring? The box has airholes and I put a piece of cloth for it to hide in, but don't really want it as a pet! Also it would starve unless I get it something to eat.
Pictures aren't too good, but the best my camera will do. I assume it's a female as its abdomen was comparatively large and very rounded.
It will almost certainly be Steatoda grossa - the most Widow like of the False Widow spiders (Steatoda). I say almost as it is not possible to confirm form these images - the extremely outlying possibility is that it is a true Black Widow (Latrodectus sp.) but we will need focused images to determine.
Most likely Steatoda grossa (from jiz and general likelihood) - 98%
Slight chance that it is a more sinister Latrodectus sp. - 2%
Thanks, false black widow sounds right. It's exactly like pictures I've seen of the real Black Widow, except for the lack of red markings. Is it a female as I thought?
I wish the pictures were better. My camera is suppposed to have quite a decent optical zoom but I don't know how to work it and the instructions that came with it were very poor, just a few diagrams and no explanation in words. I did look online but failed to find them for this make and model. Even with the macro setting enabled (it took long enough to work out how to do that!) I couldn't put the camera close enough to get more than a small image in the centre of the field of view. The ones posted were made by downloading onto the computer, opening each picture in Paint and cutting it down to get ride of the large area of background.
....Looking at the pics of Steatoda grossa, it's definitely a female, at least we can be certain of that. I was surpried to read that even such a small spider can give quite a nasty bite, so its just as well that I didn't actually handle it.
I will see if there's any way of getting better pictures. If I did keep it, where could I get suitable food? Or would it hibernate if put somewhere cool in the house? I don't really want to kill it unless I have to, and putting it outside on a day like this would probably be the end of it as I don't have a shed or any outside shelter.
Message was edited by: Drosophila, additional questions
I got a picture of S. grossa from this website, yes that looks exactly like the one I found. I also found a whole thread on it (pun not intended), http://www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus/thread/5841
By the way, I want to mark this question as answered but the tag enabling that seems nowhere in sight!
Can anyone tell me how best to look after it until Spring? I don't want to let it loose in the house in case it gets into clothing etc and bites someone. But the cold weather would probably kill it if put outside. I don't want to starve it to death either, what can I feed it on with so few insects about? At the moment it's still in the box under the bathroom sink. I don't want to disturb it, but did put a drop of water on the bottom of the box to stop dehydration; and managed to catch two very small gnats (oprobably fungus gnats) that were around my pot plants.
It's only a spider, but...