Comments & ID Thoughts
I initially saw it in the dark and thought it was a black widow, but clearly isn't. It keeps to my bathroom window, catches little spiders and bugs, comes out at night, and goes back into the window corner during the day. The little guy has been around for about a month now, I'm not so concerned about it but curious what it is, any help would be greatly appreciated!
- Submitted by:
- Submitted: Feb 24, 2020
- Photographed: Feb 24, 2020
- Spider: Steatoda (False Widows)
- Location: Southern California , California, United States
- Spotted Indoors: Other
- Found in web?: Yes
- Attributes: Lateral
Hi, it looks like a False Widow in genus Steatoda. We use the dorsal markings to tell the species apart by photo. A common one in California is Steatoda nobilis. They are in the same family as Black Widows and Brown Widows, but False Widows aren’t dangerous to people. As you noticed, they do kill other spiders along with insects. Their venom is potent in that way. At least one species of False Widow in your area, Steatoda grossa, can kill and eat Brown Widows. The Brown Widows can kill Black Widows. Spiders are quite fine with canabalism.
Oh how fascinating! And I love that its name resembles my initial reaction to what I thought it was. I didn’t even know this species existed, it has been really cool observing it especially because you can tell it’s not aggressive at all. It keeps to its little corner, eating annoying little insects at night, and goes back in its hole in the window corner during the day.
Everything we want a spider to do! These are some of my favorites. I have Steatoda borealis in my house and I’m going to bring more indoors from my compost bin in the Spring. This is the only kind of spider that I’ve seen catch mosquitoes in the house. We have 2 or 3 deadly mosquito vectored viruses here in NH. False Widows are great at catching flies too. Meanwhile, in the UK, their media are promoting hysteria about False Widows with false news stories about these spiders chasing and killing or crippling people. People in the UK are getting… Read more »
Oh that’s super frustrating to hear about them getting a bad reputation. This guy is so clearly not aggressive and has no interest in chasing any humans. My outlook on house spiders has definitely changed over the last few years as we’ve had issues with fleas and other insects that cause human harm or irritation. I’m happy to keep house spiders alive as long as I know myself or my dog isn’t at risk, and in fact to learn they’re helping us with pest control is great! And that’s great that they can help you in your area with combatting… Read more »
Here’s a great article from the UK’s “The Guardian” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2013/oct/17/false-widow-spider-attack The mission statement of spiderID.com is to fight this sort of problem with straightforward facts. We get to tell people they aren’t going to be chased down the street by killer spiders, but the bad news is that their media is getting away with lying. Gotta be careful to avoid hypocrisy there. 🙁 You can handle your spider gently. The article actually says just to avoid rough handling. They move toward perceived darkness. I put my black phone in front of a False Widow to take its photo and it… Read more »