Sunday, 4 September 2016

False Widow

On Saturday morning, while checking the underneath of my garden moth trap for stowaway moths, before putting it back, in the shed; I noticed this colourful spider. It was quite small (maybe 15mm, with its legs) but the colour and pattern are what attracted my attention. As I was trying to photograph it, the cream band around the front of its abdomen was instantly familiar and I realised I was dealing with one of the Steatoda Sp of spiders; sometimes called the False Widows, due to some of the species resemblances to the related Black Widow.

Steatoda grossa?

I find spider identification difficult and without wanting to kill and dissect, always a bit hit and miss. As far as I can tell, this is Steatoda grossa and like the other main false widow of domestic situations; S, nobilis, is mildly venomous, but not dangerous, unless you are particularly prone to adverse reactions to insect bites and stings. This is the first time I have seen any of the false widows around here, even though I see lots of spiders while doing peoples' gardens. Last November, while staying in a cottage in Lyme Regis, Dorset, I was amazed to see that every nook and cranny around the outside of the house, garage and garden structures was occupied by Steatoda Sp; some of them quite large. These were mainly S. nobilis, as far as I can tell, but there could well have been S grossa there too and I wonder if I may have inadvertently brought some home with me.

Not long after the above, I noticed that I had suffered an invasion of Martins (something that has happened a few times while moth trapping). No, it wasn't Bevan wandering around the kitchen, eating the biscuits and moaning about them, but a fall of around 110 House Martins, which dropped in, to join our 10 resident Swallows. The Swallows usually perch on the telephone wires, outside my house and this is where the Martins perched too, in between massed take-offs and short feeding flights. They were there for just over an hour; resting and preening after their overnight flight and then they left. While they were there, they made an entertaining  addition to the local bird life and were certainly made a more attractive sight than the invasion of Martins I usually encounter!


  1. I see Mr Bevan moans about your snacks as well, things will come out.
    Kevin Hughes did tell me today that we are always discussing food on this blog, how could he say such a thing.

  2. I've no idea. I thought I was the first to mention it and being daring to do so.

  3. Cheer lads and no more food posts or moans from me and will be on my best behavior and time will tell and 1 had a big fall martins over Robertstown and there must have been hundreds and it was just before dark .