What is the false widow?

Hinckley Times - - LETTERS -

AS the com­mon name in­di­cates, the spi­der su­per­fi­cially re­sem­bles and is fre­quently con­fused for the black widow and other spi­ders in the genus La­trodec­tus, which can have med­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant venom.

Steatoda no­bilis is na­tive to Madeira and the Ca­nary Is­lands from where it al­legedly spread to Europe, and ar­rived in Eng­land be­fore 1879, per­haps through cargo sent to Torquay.

In Eng­land it has a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the few lo­cal spi­der species which is ca­pa­ble of in­flict­ing a painful bite to hu­mans, with most bites re­sult­ing in symp­toms sim­i­lar to a bee or wasp sting. It has also been found in Cal­i­for­nia and Chile.

Steatoda no­bilis, false widow, has a brown bul­bous ab­domen with cream coloured mark­ings that are of­ten likened to the shape of a skull.

The legs are red­dish-or­ange. Fe­males range in size from about 9.5 to 14 mm in size, while males are 7 to 11 mm.

Males are able to pro­duce stridu­la­tion sounds dur­ing courtship, by scrap­ing 10-12 teeth on the ab­domen against a file on the rear of the cara­pace.

Pic­tures from Paul Fel­lows who found a false widow spi­der

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