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Species Notebook:

  • False Black Widow

    • Steatoda nobilis: the false black widow

      Post date: Thursday, 5 January, 2017 - 21:09

      Some creatures, and plants for that matter, get very bad press! Earlier this year a school closed for a while because the false black widow spider (Steatoda nobilis) had colonised a part of it. I am not saying that was wrong, just saying how some creatures get bad press. Back in the autumn there were headlines in one paper saying there were going to be plaques of them this year. It is a fact that this spider is venomous and should be treated with a degree of caution. For most people the effects are minimal, not even as bad a wasp sting but a small number of people have had a severe reaction to a bite and have been quite ill, I may love nature of all kinds but I would not tolerate one of these indoors. 

      This can be quite a large species although much smaller than the common house spider and has brown markings on a black background; the males are more distinctly marked than the females. They are quite unique in appearance and are easily identified. 

      A native of the Canary Islands and Madeira they were imported into the ports of southern Britain, especially on the Fyffes boats in Southampton, with bananas and they have spread readily and can now be found almost anywhere around houses in southern England and they also survive 'in the wild' along the south coast. There is no need to be frightened of them, just take care if you come across one.


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