Noble False Widow Spiders

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Scientific name:  Steatoda nobilis

Size:  Head and body 7 - 14mm

Distribution:  Found in most parts of the U.K, but especially prevalent in the south of England and south Wales

Months seen:  All year round

Habitat:  Usually found in houses and out buildings

Food:  Flies and other small insects

Special features:  Some people believe the Noble False Widow spider (Steatoda nobilis) may have arrived in the UK from the Canary Islands.  It was first recorded in Torquay, Devon, back in 1879.  Since then it has adapted well to our colder climate.

False widows belong to a group of spiders which are part of the same family as the infamous Black Widow spiders, although they are nowhere near as venomous.  They're frequently mistaken for Black Widow spiders, which has led to the common name of "False Widow" spiders.

They have a dark brown shiny body.  The abdomen has some pale markings on the top which some people say resembles a skull, or Darth Vaders mask.  There is a creamy coloured band all round the front of the abdomen where it meets the head end.  Under a magnifying lens this looks like an intricate mosaic.

The web of the False Widow spider consists of many short, irregularly placed silk strands.  It's a bit of a mish-mash.

False widows have a reputation for biting people, although in truth, this is quite a rare occurrence.  You would need to be very unlucky, or go out of your way to be bitten.  They only bite if mishandled or if they feel threatened.  People who have experienced the bite say it's similar to a bee sting.

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