by Alan Jacques
Lisa O’Brien from Askeaton got the fright of her life when she came across what she believed to be a Black Widow Spider while cleaning her kitchen on Monday afternoon.
“As it happens, my son had been showing me pictures in a book about deadly creatures and I remember he was fascinated by the Black Widow. About ten minutes later, I was startled after coming across a really big spider on the fruit basket bearing an uncanny resemblance,” Lisa told the Limerick Post.
“After checking Google, I thought it might be a Money Spider but a giant one, because the largest Money Spider is 5mm and this was bigger. I wasn’t scared but threw it out in the back garden, which may not have been the best move. If a bird collapses, we will know,” she nervously joked.
“I felt it was a weird one. It wasn’t nice. He was more than 5mm for sure, but the Irish weather can have him now.”
“It’s a Small False Widow alright; the species is Steatoda Grossa and it is common and widespread in the southern half of Ireland with a few records from further north in Ireland,” explained leading arachnologist Myles Nolan of the Natural History Museum of Ireland.
The Steatoda Grossa is a poor relation to the False Widow Spider (Steatoda Nobilis), which is larger and can very occasionally have a nasty bite. Not as venomous as the Black Widow, a bite from a False Widow Spider can cause serious allergic reaction in some people and even require medical treatment.
“The Small False Widow lives in and around houses and is essentially harmless. Numerous records from the Cork area. There is no cause for concern. It is definitely not a Black Widow — the kids are winding her up!” Myles suggested.