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481 Views 3 Replies Last post: Oct 15, 2013 9:40 AM by jaguarondi RSS
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Oct 14, 2013 11:53 AM

False Widow Spider?

The internet seems awash with fact and myth and misinformation following some sensationalist press recently with regards this species. I was blissfully unaware of it all until I found this arachnid crossing my path the evening before last. The striking markings caught my eye and as I gently teased him out of his hiding place, Ray Mears style on the end of a twig, my wife told me about the False Widow. So began my own arachnophobia, taking photos, trawling the net for images, and information. I've seen probably several different species(by my own untrained eye) all being touted as The False Widow.

After the initial excitement and having seen other ID requests here I'm guessing that my friend here is not one of them but a harmless and probably friendly critter. I am not arachnophobic, I can happily move a house spider by hand if my wife commands it.. But it is easy to see how both spiders and people could be left badly damaged by all of this!

Anyway, is this one or isn't it!?

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    Oct 14, 2013 1:09 PM (in response to DaveFirth)
    Re: False Widow Spider?

    I think yours is a Metellina species, most likely M. segmentata at this time of the year. They're very common (outdoors). However, if it is, the colour is unusual as it's usually various shades of brown / beige but you do get dark ones. Look at this one and replace the reddish areas with grey / black and you'll see what I mean -

    http://shenstonebirder.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/thursday-27th-september-2012-shenstone.html

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        Oct 15, 2013 9:40 AM (in response to DaveFirth)
        Re: False Widow Spider?

        Hi Dave, it's such a common species that even if only 1% are grey / black it's still means that are many thousands with that colour variant in the countryside. They don't really have a standard colour form - just anything from beige to ones like yours. And as for the causes of the different colours - no idea, although I did read somewhere that Metellina can change it's colour to some extent, like Araneus diadematus can, to match its surroundings. Can't remember where I read it though.

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