Stepping out my front door on a warm Winter day, I saw this creature. This species is in the genus Steatoda, which are commonly referred to as False Black Widow Spiders. They are closely related to the true Black Widow Spiders, but are not nearly as venomous.
Another common name for this arachnid is “Cupboard Spider,” because many species building their webs in dark, sheltered, undisturbed places around the house or garden, in sheds and garages, under garden furniture, bridges, wood piles compost bins and similar structures.
For a web, the False Black Widow builds a tangled, three-dimensional “cobweb” snare. The silk is not sticky, but prey easily gets tangled and begins to struggle, which sends vibrations to the spider. Using its two back legs, the spider then “throws” silk around the prey until it can no longer escape or harm its captor, at which point it delivers a venom-injecting bite and then begins to feed.
Female False Black Widows have been reported to live for up to six years (males live for a year to a year and a half), producing numerous offspring. These spiders have a total of eight eyes, arranged in two horizontal rows of four (a pattern typical of cobweb spiders in this family).
It was neat to come across this creature, a spider which I’ve never seen before, and all I had to do was take a couple of steps out my front door!