I'm new to this forum and would like to ask for help identifying the spider on the attached image.
I believe it's a Noble False Widow. Our front and rear gardens are full of them (counted around 30-40 varying sizes) and would like to get advise on whether I should just leave them as they are or should I take action to remove them? As I understand the Noble False Widow is an invasive species...
Many thanks for your help.
This is a common garden spider (Araneus diadematus, or Araneus quadratus). There are a lot of gravid females that are large & sometimes brightly coloured around at the moment. They are quite docile.
You are correct in your identification. However, some things about what you are saying seem unusual. I'm not saying, "I don't believe your gardens are full of them", I am just enquiring as to whether some similar species, that could be misidentified, are boosting the percieved numbers? For instance, Zygiella x-notata (a harmless orb weaver) is the spider associated with at least two of the current "false widow" scare stories...here's what they look like:
...they can often live close by S. nobilis, they are easily bullied out of their prey by S. nobilis, but S. nobilis doesn't seem to tolerate competition from it's own species, or from larger spiders, like garden spiders. In short, S. nobilis are usually a little spread out & quite territorial.
Another thing to consider is that they have probably been in the area for some years, just the current wave of interest has caused many people to notice creatures that, a month ago, they would not have given a second's thought to.
Female false widows in the garden aren't likely to want to leave their webs to come indoors. My view is that, in attempts to remove them yourself, you are more likely to come into conflict, or cause displaced spiders to wander around in search of a new home. If they are established in your area & you remove them, how will you stop new individuals from taking their places? Though, I appreciate you have to do whatever you feel gives you & your family the greater peace of mind.
They are well established in the South & South East & have been for years. They are all over where I live (I have 2 in my living room), yet most people are utterly oblivious to them (or were, until the tabloids got all over-excited).
Many thanks for your response.
I actually noticed the first spider on 20 September as it landed on my neck when I opened the patio door (luckily managed to shake it off quickly). I only took a picture of it, as I thought it looked unusual. Then about a week later I read an article about the False Widow in the paper and suddenly realized that was the spider I had seen.
The second time I saw one was a couple of weeks (1 October) after that, when one was crawling over the patio.
Pictures of both these sightings below.
Only after that I thought it was curious to have seen two individuals and decided to have a closer look around the garden and looked out for their signature "un-structured" webs. At that point I realized there were many more. These three images are of the larger ones I've seen, but there are most definitely many more...
I must say that the population has been reduced in the last couple of weeks and I'm not sure whether this is because of the colder weather or territorial behaviour...
I would be more inclined to judge the numbers by the actual individuals for 2 reasons: webs can stay intact for a year or more if undisturbed, also Tegenaria species can also be found in gardens & it can be hard to distinguish between webs.
That said, I don't doubt that you have multiple individuals.
Apologies, I believe my statement may have been unclear... I tried to find the location by looking out for the webs and then searched for the actual spider. The count I gave earlier is the number of actual spiders I have seen and they were definitely not the orb weaver you referenced earlier... They were all dark coloured with brownish legs and grey pattern on the back. Some of the webs were indeed empty.
I was surprised there were so many and couldn't believe it at first... Especially now that you've said they generally don't live in close proximity of one another... Some were located within 2 feet of another individual.