Apparently, the Steatoda Nobilis, Britain’s only biting spider, has claimed another victim in Devon, where some poor soul disturbed a nest and got a nasty bite on the neck. No… don’t ask me how. Maybe he was in the attic or something and the spider launched a sneak attack. The article, in the Metro, features a picture of the ‘false’ Black Widow (the Steatoda Nobilis is related, distantly one would hope) which defies easy scaling; but, a little research brings relief from confusion. Another article on BBC News online (from September 2001) shows the same sort of spider with a far better judgement of scale. Knowing it’s about the size of my thumbnail makes it all the more comforting to know it lives down south at the moment!
Given this article (on BBC News) is almost seven years old, you’d think people would have had time to prepare for this sort of encounter. It must be the sort of thing that comes up down the pub all the time. As the Steatoda Nobilis first set up home at the beginning of the last century, it isn’t as if this has been some undercover assault on the shores of the UK. No doubt some fanatical collector carried it home from the Canary Islands or it hitched a ride in a shipment of something or other. The fact that it has spread across the whole of south coastal England in a hundred year residence seems like slow progress to me. Fascinating that this arachnid from warmer climes has managed to make the transition to the chilly damp of England in a relatively short space of time. Isn’t the natural world fascinating!