Sunday 14 July 2024
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Noble False Widow spider spotted in West Bridgford

The spider, one of the only UK spiders to have a harmful bite, was spotted in a West Bridgford garden this weekend.

A West Bridgford resident came across the spider while doing some tidying up in his garden.

In England the spider has been reported mostly in southern counties, but its range was reported to be expanding northwards in the 21st century.

According to the Natural History Museum, False widows (Steatoda sp.) are sometimes confused for the deadly black widow spider (Latrodectus sp.) and are mistakenly thought to be as dangerous.

Both have a similar dark-coloured, globular body.

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The name false widow is given to species in the genus Steatoda. Six of these species live permanently in the UK.

The three most common false widows are:

  • the rabbit hutch spider (Steatoda bipunctata)
  • the cupboard spider (Steatoda grossa)
  • the noble false widow (Steatoda nobilis)

Their webs can be often seen suspended at least 1.5 metres off the ground to allow the spiders to hunt flying insects.

In homes they often prefer to hide in kitchens and conservatories. Their webs are a tangle of threads, a characteristic of all false widow species.

The pattern on their bodies is often noted as ‘skull-shaped’, which probably doesn’t help their negative reputation.

False widows are not the deadly spiders they are sometimes thought to be.

Although false widows do have a venomous bite, the venom is not particularly potent.

Usually the only symptom is pain at the site which may radiate away from the bite.

It ordinarily lasts between one and 12 hours, and rarely for more than 24 hours.

Often, the symptoms are no worse than the pain of a wasp sting.

Males are more prone to biting. But this is only because they leave the nest in search of a mate, often venturing indoors looking for females. They are only known to bite when provoked or trapped against skin.

There is often hysteria surrounding these spiders, and they have unjustly earned a reputation for being a dangerous pest. But these spiders only bite when they feel threatened.



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