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2534 Views 2 Replies Last post: Oct 20, 2011 10:10 PM by Alex RSS
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Oct 19, 2011 9:32 PM

Help identifying a spider (possible false widow?)



I was wondering whether anyone would be kind enough to help me identify this spider.


I've attempted to compare it to various pictures online so any pointers on how to recognise it once identified would be great.


Many thanks,


  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 19, 2011 11:57 PM (in response to Alex)
    Re: Help identifying a spider (possible false widow?)

    Hello there.

    I have often made mistakes when attempting to identify  'False Widows', but I'll take you through the process that I use. We tend to be asked to identify three different 'False Widows' Steatoda bipunctata, Steatoda grossa and Steatoda noblis (this is the one with a bit of a bite).


    Firstly is the overall look, how 'Widow' like is the spider. Definite 10/10 for your example.

    Leg colour, bipunctata and grossa have darker legs than noblis which often has a orangey brown tinge to its legs. bipunctata  normally has a bit of a stripy patterning on the legs but with the spider in the photo being rather grey with dust (has it been up the hoover?) it is not readily apparent in this photo. So points split for the first two here.

    Body colour or abdomen colour. This can be extremely variable with both bipuctata and grossa varying from black through brown and purple to a quite bloody red with the odd white marking thrown in for contrast! So at this stage I would say definitely bipunctata or grossa, noblis tends to have a white or cream band around the front of the abdomen and usually but not always some white or yellowish markings on the top face of the abdomen.

    Now I resort to image manipulation and download your photograph and crop it down and play with the contrast, fill light and colour balance to see if anything else becomes apparent.

    widow a.jpg


    I think that this crop shows a little stripeyness in the legs so possibly bipunctata but the rather arched abdomen looks like it has some white patches in there that make it look a little grossa like so I have not really achieved much by doing this.

    Size is the next factor, noblis and bipunctata rarely go over seven or eight millimeters in body length  but grossa as its name suggests can be somewhat larger

    Next is location with grossa and noblis being less well distributed the further North you go.

    So in conclusion I'm going to go for .... bipuctata or grossa and wait for Bombuslucorums opinion in the morning

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