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378 Views 3 Replies Last post: Feb 11, 2014 2:41 PM by ChrisE RSS
Currently Being Moderated

Feb 10, 2014 2:50 PM

False Widow?

Hi,

 

Found this beauty in my shed last week.

 

I'm in Ceredigion, West Wales. 5 mins drive from the coast.

 

A false widow???

 

Thanks.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 10, 2014 5:01 PM (in response to Medz)
    Re: False Widow?

    This is not a False Widow but a Black Orb Weaver or Walnut Orb Weaver, Nuctenea umbratica. These spiders occupy their webs at night feeding principally on night flying insects - so moths feature quite heavily. They are known to bite if they are trapped between skin and clothing, which happens very occasionally when people demolish sheds or fence panels. They are a common and widespread species found in all gardens, but hide away in crevasses during daytime.

     

    So all things considered ... best described as harmless.

     

    As for living 5 mins from the coast in Ceredigion - I think you'll find that that bit of coast is getting closer to you by the day ;)

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      • Currently Being Moderated
        Feb 11, 2014 2:41 PM (in response to Medz)
        Re: False Widow?

        Hi,

        To see the main differences you could do worse than look at the photos on these links:

         

        http://srs.britishspiders.org.uk/portal.php/p/Summary/s/Steatoda+nobilis

         

        http://srs.britishspiders.org.uk/portal.php/p/Summary/s/Nuctenea+umbratica

         

        Your spider Nuctenea umbratica has a more flattened abdomen, which allows it to tuck itself away by day in crevices eg. between fence panels. The dark patch on the abdomen has a noticably wavy edge where it meets the lighter surounding colour, although the contrast between the two colours can vary.

         

        The false widow abdomen is a bit more bulbous in shape. You're right in that the false widow has a central lighter marking on the abdomen surrounded by a darker area, although the shape and extent of the lighter patch varies - it sometimes looks a bit skull-like. It also has a prominent light band extending around the front of the abdomen and reaching along the sides. Hope that helps.

        Chris

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