I've just been listening to Jeremy Vine (Radio 2 - 17 Oct 2013)) and he was talking about the 'False Widow' spider. We spotted this spider in our drive way the other week and were just wondering what species this was as it looks pretty similar.
Good old Jeremy, has he been putting the frighteners on his listeners again?
I took a live one into his studio last year and he wanted me to let it bite him.
However, I digress. This is not a 'False Widow', but one of the Garden spiders, Araneus sp., looks likely to be Araneus quadratus and a large and gravid female. This species is harmless and females are at the largest at this time of year. They are usually to be found in the middle of their orb web, but they are frequently disturbed when these are broken as they make these in the silliest places. If you pick them up they are a bit prickly, but this is due to spines on their legs rather than a bite - beyond that they can be a bit of a nuisance if they build their web over your back or front door as these usually have to be broken 2 or 3 times before they get the message that they should move on.