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400 Views 1 Reply Last post: Oct 4, 2013 10:21 PM by MWJB RSS
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Oct 4, 2013 8:24 PM

Is this a false widow spider?

There are conflicting images of false widow spiders appearing in local newspapers in the South East of England where we live.

Is this one that we found in the bath one if them?

It looks very much like an image that appeared in one newspaper.

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    Oct 4, 2013 10:21 PM (in response to Notaparasite)
    Re: Is this a false widow spider?

    Hi there,

     

    Conflicting images are perhaps partly due to the fact that there is more than one 'false widow' species...& partly due to poor research? ;-) Even where bite reports are confirmed as attributed to other spiders, the papers like to use it as an excuse to roll out pictures of the false widows.

     

    The spider in the newspaper article, that you have reproduced is a male Steatoda nobilis.

     

    The spider in your bath is a male Steatoda grossa.

     

    There is a 3rd very common false widow spider (as well as occasional others), Steatoda bipuncta...but this doesn't seem to compete for the headlines as much, probably due to the fact is is colloquially known as the 'rabbit hutch spider'...not very scary.

     

    Both S. nobilis & S. grossa are known to bite, but this is really very rare. Neither are aggressive, the males can get into trouble when wandering about to find a mate. Female S. nobilis are more common on the exterior of homes (sometimes inside), make webs high off the ground & stick to them. They hang out on their webs a lot (especially after dusk), so get seen...but don't stray far from their bolt hole, which they dash back to if they feel threatened.

     

    S grossa is also called the cupboard spider, pretty common in homes (outbuildings too) but females usually stay well hidden (they don't seem to like light, or areas of high footfall), so tend to be more rarely seen. I curently have one living under a nut shell, in a jar...I have a job trying to see her!

     

    I have all 3 of the above in my home. They're pretty well impossible to avoid in my part of the SE, even so, physical contact is rare.

     

    Regards, Mark.

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