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False Widow Spider (Steatoda nobilis): Facts, Identification, & Pictures False Widow Spider (Steatoda nobilis): Facts, Identification, & Pictures
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False Widow (Steatoda nobilis)

Ever heard of the False Widow spider? It’s a dark-colored spider that looks a lot like the famous black widow spider. But guess what? They’re actually pretty shy! They prefer running away to fighting and only bite if they feel trapped. Ready to learn more about this interesting spider?

Scientific Classification

False Widow Spider

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

  • Size: As a sexual dimorphism, the female of the species is larger than the male, with the former being around 15 mm, while the latter, is up to 10 mm in length.

False Widow Spider Size

  • Color: The abdomen of these creatures is dark brown with cream-colored markings, while the eight legs are reddish orange.
  • Other Characteristic Features: Like other members of the genus Steatoda, these creatures have a bulbous abdomen, although the body of the male is somewhat thinner and more elongated than the females. Also, this species has very poor eyesight.

False Widow Spider Images

Eggs

The female false widow spiders can lay three or even more sacs of eggs or cocoons between May and July, with each sac containing more than 200 or more eggs. The eggs are pale yellow to cream in color.

False Widow Spider Eggs

Spiderlings

The baby spiders hatch out from the eggs within 2 to 4 months. Just like the adults, all the stages of metamorphosis of the juvenile spiders can be seen in different human-made structures, around the year.

False Widow Spiderlings

The Web

False Black Widow Spider makes a cobweb which is rather irregular in shape and is made up of a tangle of sticky silk fibers. It mostly depends on the vibrations made by an approaching enemy, which reaches the spider through the webs.

False Widow Spider Web

Are False Widow Spiders Venomous?

Yes, False Widow Spiders are venomous, but their venom isn’t as dangerous as the black widow’s.

Can False Widow Spiders Bite?

Yes, False Widow Spiders can bite. They usually run away when confronted, but if scared or disturbed, their bite can be quite painful, even if the initial bite isn’t immediately felt. When bitten, the victim usually does not feel it right at the moment, but within around 15-20 minutes, the affected part becomes warm, turns red, and swells locally, developing a weal, often with a tingling feeling.

False Widow Spider Bite

A pair of puncture wounds can also be seen in the area, as it turns somewhat pale blue within a few hours. However, the symptoms then gradually begin to withdraw, usually with some minor medication.

False Widow Spider Pictures

Ecological Importance and Behavior of False Widow Spider

The False Widow spider plays a crucial role in controlling pest populations, thanks to its diet of insects and other small creatures. Their nocturnal habits and the sticky webs they weave make them effective predators, maintaining a balance in the ecosystem.

Natural Predator: Despite their venomous bite, False Widows are not at the top of the food chain. They fall prey to birds, lizards, and other larger predators, showcasing the intricate balance of nature.

Prey-Predator Dynamics: The relationship between False Widows and their predators is a classic example of nature’s balance. While they help control pest populations, their presence also provides sustenance for larger creatures, ensuring biodiversity.

Relationship with Humans: False Widow spiders tend to keep to themselves and rarely venture indoors. While their bite can cause discomfort, they are not aggressive towards humans and play a beneficial role in controlling insect populations around homes and gardens.

Quick Facts

LifespanFemales can reportedly live for up to six years, but mostly die after laying the first egg sac;
Males can live for up to 18 months, but they usually die shortly after their first mating
DistributionOriginally from the Canary Islands and Madeira, but now extensively found (as an introduced species) in parts of USA, England, as well as in Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal
HabitatPrimarily around human-made structures in the bark of trees, walls, fences, gardens, under rocks and wood, but rarely indoors
Common predatorsBirds, toads, lizards, shrews, centipedes, scorpions, etc.
DietCommonly insects, other species of invertebrates including other smaller spiders

Images of False Widow Spider

Did You Know

  • The bulbous abdomen of the arthropod is often compared to the shape of a skull.
  • Scientists claim that the increase in the population of the false widow in the UK is a result of global warming.
  • It is said to be one of the few spiders whose bite (and the resultant release of venom) is medically important for humans.
  • The first sighting in the southern hemisphere was reported in Chile in January 2016.
  • In the recent past, in October 2018, four schools in the east of London were shut down temporarily because of infestations by false widow spiders.

In summary, the False Widow spider, a non-aggressive yet venomous arachnid, plays a vital ecological role in pest control, exhibits unique physical characteristics, and maintains a generally harmonious yet cautious relationship with humans.

Ever heard of the False Widow spider? It’s a dark-colored spider that looks a lot like the famous black widow spider. But guess what? They’re actually pretty shy! They prefer running away to fighting and only bite if they feel trapped. Ready to learn more about this interesting spider?

False Widow Spider

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

  • Size: As a sexual dimorphism, the female of the species is larger than the male, with the former being around 15 mm, while the latter, is up to 10 mm in length.

False Widow Spider Size

  • Color: The abdomen of these creatures is dark brown with cream-colored markings, while the eight legs are reddish orange.
  • Other Characteristic Features: Like other members of the genus Steatoda, these creatures have a bulbous abdomen, although the body of the male is somewhat thinner and more elongated than the females. Also, this species has very poor eyesight.

False Widow Spider Images

Eggs

The female false widow spiders can lay three or even more sacs of eggs or cocoons between May and July, with each sac containing more than 200 or more eggs. The eggs are pale yellow to cream in color.

False Widow Spider Eggs

Spiderlings

The baby spiders hatch out from the eggs within 2 to 4 months. Just like the adults, all the stages of metamorphosis of the juvenile spiders can be seen in different human-made structures, around the year.

False Widow Spiderlings

The Web

False Black Widow Spider makes a cobweb which is rather irregular in shape and is made up of a tangle of sticky silk fibers. It mostly depends on the vibrations made by an approaching enemy, which reaches the spider through the webs.

False Widow Spider Web

Are False Widow Spiders Venomous?

Yes, False Widow Spiders are venomous, but their venom isn’t as dangerous as the black widow’s.

Can False Widow Spiders Bite?

Yes, False Widow Spiders can bite. They usually run away when confronted, but if scared or disturbed, their bite can be quite painful, even if the initial bite isn’t immediately felt. When bitten, the victim usually does not feel it right at the moment, but within around 15-20 minutes, the affected part becomes warm, turns red, and swells locally, developing a weal, often with a tingling feeling.

False Widow Spider Bite

A pair of puncture wounds can also be seen in the area, as it turns somewhat pale blue within a few hours. However, the symptoms then gradually begin to withdraw, usually with some minor medication.

False Widow Spider Pictures

Ecological Importance and Behavior of False Widow Spider

The False Widow spider plays a crucial role in controlling pest populations, thanks to its diet of insects and other small creatures. Their nocturnal habits and the sticky webs they weave make them effective predators, maintaining a balance in the ecosystem.

Natural Predator: Despite their venomous bite, False Widows are not at the top of the food chain. They fall prey to birds, lizards, and other larger predators, showcasing the intricate balance of nature.

Prey-Predator Dynamics: The relationship between False Widows and their predators is a classic example of nature’s balance. While they help control pest populations, their presence also provides sustenance for larger creatures, ensuring biodiversity.

Relationship with Humans: False Widow spiders tend to keep to themselves and rarely venture indoors. While their bite can cause discomfort, they are not aggressive towards humans and play a beneficial role in controlling insect populations around homes and gardens.

Quick Facts

LifespanFemales can reportedly live for up to six years, but mostly die after laying the first egg sac;
Males can live for up to 18 months, but they usually die shortly after their first mating
DistributionOriginally from the Canary Islands and Madeira, but now extensively found (as an introduced species) in parts of USA, England, as well as in Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal
HabitatPrimarily around human-made structures in the bark of trees, walls, fences, gardens, under rocks and wood, but rarely indoors
Common predatorsBirds, toads, lizards, shrews, centipedes, scorpions, etc.
DietCommonly insects, other species of invertebrates including other smaller spiders

Images of False Widow Spider

Did You Know

  • The bulbous abdomen of the arthropod is often compared to the shape of a skull.
  • Scientists claim that the increase in the population of the false widow in the UK is a result of global warming.
  • It is said to be one of the few spiders whose bite (and the resultant release of venom) is medically important for humans.
  • The first sighting in the southern hemisphere was reported in Chile in January 2016.
  • In the recent past, in October 2018, four schools in the east of London were shut down temporarily because of infestations by false widow spiders.

In summary, the False Widow spider, a non-aggressive yet venomous arachnid, plays a vital ecological role in pest control, exhibits unique physical characteristics, and maintains a generally harmonious yet cautious relationship with humans.