Below is a photo of a false widow spider (Steatoda nobilis) perhaps ready to start feeding from a trussed up male stag beetle. It is a huge meal capable of keeping the spider sated for quite a while.
Steatoda nobilis preying on a male Lucanus cervus.
Photo courtesy of London Natural History Museum, July 2012. Location?
This particular false widow spider (S. nobilis) prefers to hunt high above the ground in garden buildings; it has a preference for conservatories, greenhouses and even a Wendy house (toy house for children), see below.
Photo courtesy of Alejandra Lopez; 12 June 2014, New Milton, Hampshire.
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Coincidentally, also in 2014 a female stag beetle was found suspended in a garden spider web. She was trying to fly away. See below and note the mites on the right hard wing.
Video by Gavin Peters; 21 June 2014, East Bromley, London.
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There is another false widow spider, S. grossa, which is also capable of catching large insects. This species hunts much lower down; it spins their strong webs close to the ground. Dr. Stuart Hine has seen several stag beetle (L. cervus) females caught in their webs and the sated spiders absolutely engorged after such a huge meal.
Do keep an eye in your garden, particularly if you live in the South of the UK, where these spiders have a good stronghold and take some pictures! They are not that common and it would be nice to show some more here. If you want to share them, then contact me.
False widow spiders links:
Is it or isn't it? False widow spider update
Don't panic: it's only a false widow spider
Summary for Steatoda nobilis (Araneae)
Steatoda nobilis wrapping May bug
Summary for Steatoda grossa (Araneae)
False Widow Spiders - Spider and Harvestman Recording Scheme: the website for recording your sightings
Last modified: Tue Jan 6 11:06:13 GMT 2015
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