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1172 Views 9 Replies Last post: Oct 20, 2013 10:42 AM by MWJB RSS
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Oct 17, 2013 6:32 AM

What are these two types of spider?

Hi there!  I have been very determined not to buy into the false widow fear sweeping the UK, but today I noticed a spider that just struck me as weird, in my downstairs bathroom, ironically just hours after giving a self-righteous speech about why people needn't worry about false widows... typical eh? 

 

I tried to take a photo, but the thing is very high up in the room, and I am 5ft tall... even stood on the loo, I have struggled to get a shot which shows all of the spider   I have included a photo, but please let me know if there is some particular angle I should be trying to photograph to help with ID. 

 

Spider number 1 is photographed on a gold-coloured curtain pole.  This is the one that is a bit different to any spider I've encountered before.  Just blacker and... different. 

 

Spider number 2, I believe to be... I think a very good poster on here MWJB identified what seem to be some very similar spiders in another few threads as 'missing sector orb weaver', but I know nothing about spider identification to be sure!  His (also terrible quality, sorry) picture is included because I am just a curious bunny, and got to thinking what other types of spiders live in my bathroom!

 

 

Any ID help would be much appreciated

 

 

*edited to include some better photos, even though I am a bit too arachnaphobic to get close enough for my camera phone to work!

    • Currently Being Moderated
      Oct 17, 2013 11:25 AM (in response to Akerman)
      Re: What are these two types of spider?

      Hi Akerman,

       

      All the spiders in your first post appear to be Xygiella x-notata. These are harmless orb weavers commonly found in & around houses, even on cars (they seem to like wing mirrors, but aerials can suffice).

       

      Notice the wider, flared consecutive chevrons/feather-like pattern running down the middle of the abdomen of x-notata, with a dark line down the centre (false widows don't tend to have the dark line down the centre, Steatoda bipuncta often has a paler line, but no chevrons and Steatoda grossa may have a row of dots that can look like a line under strong light/with reflection from a flash, but no dark line separating these down the middle, Steatoda nobils' markings are variously described as a "skull", or "shield-like" but no dark centre line again). The legs of x-notata are often heavily banded, false widows (S nobilis) can have some banding around the legs when juveniles, but legs are more usually solid brown to black  when mature.

       

      If you look closely at the heads of Zygiella x-notata, you will see that the heads are brown, with a black stripe tapering back towards the abdomen, a thin dark line around either side of the head. False widows do not have these markings, the head is typically one solid colour.

       

      X-notata are very variable in colour.

       

      Another difference is the webs they weave, Z. x-notata is also called the missing sector orb weaver...they weave a classic orb web, but often leave 2 sectors free of the concentric "rungs". False widows do not weave orb webs...but I have seen one invade the web of x-notata to steal food.

       

      I have both Z. x-notata & steatoda nobilis in my front room, I see them every day...I still make the odd mistake, or need to put them under a magnifier to be sure, ID'ing from photos is harder still. Two of the current press scare stories appear to involve the mistaken identity of Z. x-notata, assumed to be S. nobilis.

       

      All that said, false widows are quite shy & docile and nowhere near as much of a nuisance as the press may lead you to believe.

       

      Kind regards, Mark.

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        • Currently Being Moderated
          Oct 17, 2013 11:23 AM (in response to Akerman)
          Re: What are these two types of spider?

          Hi Akerman,

           

          I am fairly certain that this also a missing sector orb weaver.

           

          If you look closely you can see marked banding around the legs, the head appears black in the centre, but lighter brown at the sides, the markings on the flanks of the abdomen look more Zygiella than S triangulosa?

           

          I'm not sure how well established S. triangulosa is in the UK.

           

          Regards, Mark.

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    • Currently Being Moderated
      Oct 20, 2013 4:36 AM (in response to Akerman)
      Re: What are these two types of spider?

      Hi Akerman,

       

      Yes, it looks likely that the spider in the lamp shade is also Z. x-notata.

       

      The ant-like spider looks like a male "rabbit hutch spider", or Steatoda bipuncta - this is a false widow species, smaller than the more infamous ones & not typically implicated in bites.

       

      www.field-studies-council.org have some ID charts which are a good starting point, there is this site of course & following this forum has been a great help to me.

       

      Regards, Mark.

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    • Currently Being Moderated
      Oct 20, 2013 10:42 AM (in response to Akerman)
      Re: What are these two types of spider?

      Yes, abdomen size & pedipalps are good indicators, but sub-adult spiders (palps not fully developed) can be hard to guage, or females that have just been through a moult & not yet filled back out.

       

      Spiders may live relatively close to each other (like Z. x-notata), but they don't typically live in colonies/nests. Once they are big enough to fend for themselves, they do & don't like competition for food & resources.

       

      Steatodas don't weave the typical orb webs, they make messy, hammock-like webs, or webs lining the corners/edges of areas, S. bipuncta webs can be hard to see without good light.

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