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778 Views 9 Replies Last post: Nov 12, 2013 7:22 PM by ChrisE RSS
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Nov 12, 2013 11:43 AM

Can you identify this spider please?

Hi

 

I've got 6 of these living round my kitchen window and one in my living room window. They're usually hidden in the frame until evening, so I'm guessing they're nocturnal? This is the smallest of the brood, but the only one prepared to pose for a picture! I live in South Devon and wonder if it's a type of false widow? orb weaver?

Hope the picture isn't too grainy. Thank you.

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    Nov 12, 2013 1:44 PM (in response to Buttonmoon)
    Re: Can you identify this spider please?

    These are examples of the Missing Sector Orb Web spider, Zygiella x-notata. This is a very common and widespread species and loves to make its web over windows and uses the corners if the frame and the sill for its refuge. I doubt there is a home in the land that does not have this species in residence.

     

    It is also the species most commonly mistaken for the Noble False Widow, Steatoda nobilis.

     

    Zygiella spp. are completely harmless and through the year they will catch a good deal of insects and other invertebrates that are considered pests. They are also one of the few species that happily feed through the winter given available winter insects.

     

    For less shocking and hopefully reassuring information on False Window spiders please see the following link:

     

    http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/life/insects-spiders/false-widow/index.html

     

    HTH

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      • Currently Being Moderated
        Nov 12, 2013 5:19 PM (in response to Buttonmoon)
        Re: Can you identify this spider please?

        It may help clear up some of your uncertainty by looking at the webs that they use. A false widow's web is generally a 3D lattice mess rather than a simple round orb type in one plane. So if they're all sitting in webs of the latter type when they emerge they're unlikely to be false widows.

        Hope that helps.

        Chris

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            Nov 12, 2013 5:51 PM (in response to Buttonmoon)
            Re: Can you identify this spider please?

            These sound like the classic retreats of this Zygiella - yellowish silken 'tunnels' that they hide in by day.

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            • I just had a look at our assemblage of Zygiella and Steatoda just outside the back door. Couldn't really make out any cocoons at present though I've read that Zygiella x-notata does produce them in autumn and winter.

              Does the false widow also lay eggs this late in the year or at some other time? Are they in an obvious place or in the retreat tunnel?

              One more thing I've wondered about -  does the "x" in the binomial name in this case imply some kind of hybrid status? 

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                Nov 12, 2013 7:17 PM (in response to ChrisE)
                Re: Can you identify this spider please?

                It sounds to me like buttonmoon is describing the tube-like silken retreats of Zygiella, but the 'puffy' egg sacks are also likely to be present from late autumn and these are made outside of the retreat but in a similar position. Steatoda nobilis have similar silken retreats but these are usually hidden in crevasses and out of site, they also lay their egg sacks in these hidden positions where possible too. The peak egg hatch for nobilis appears to be late autumn but I have been sent mature males in almost all months of the year and it’s likely that females are produce eggs throughout the year.

                 

                x-notata simply means x marked, arguably this is the x mark:

                zygiella_x-notata cropped 2.jpg

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