Large female cupboard spider - Steatoda grossa false widow

The Cupboard spider

The Cupboard spider (Steatoda grossa), also known as the dark comb-footed spider, the brown house spider, or the false widow or false black widow, is a common species of spider in the genus Steatoda.

They are widespread throughout northern Europe, including the United Kingdom and Ireland, where they are usually found in the darker corners of houses (hence the name), but occasionally in sheltered spots outside and away from human habitats. Steatoda grossa prefers hidden areas near the ground under furniture, or dark low corners where they can more easily hunt woodlice and crawling insects.

Cupboard spiders are not aggressive and most bites to people are made in self defence and delivered when a spider gets unintentionally pinched or squeezed. This often happens when a person rolls over in bed or puts on clothing that the spider is concealed in.

Cupboard spider size and appearance

Female Cupboard spider - Steatoda Grossa
[Image by Darekk2 licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0]
Female Steatoda grossa – Cupboard spider
Size: 6.5 – 10 mm
Male False widow spider - Steatoda Grossa
[Image by Bob the Wikipedian licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0]
Male Steatoda grossa – Cupboard spider
Size: 4 – 6 mm
Cupboard spider coloration ranges from purplish brown to black, with light-colored markings.

Females of this species are usually darker than Steatoda nobilis and Steatoda bipunctata, with purplish-brown, evenly-coloured dark legs or with lighter stripes. They have an abdominal pattern of two clear triangles and lateral bars, but these are often dim or missing in the darker specimens. Males and females both have a lighter crescent on the front of their abdomen, but this is often absent too. Their front legs are longer than in other false widows.

“At the NUI Galway Venom Systems Lab, we have been studying this spider for the past five years and we are finally learning the truth about the false widow story.”

John P. Dunbar, Aiste Vitkauskaite, Sean Rayner and Michel M. Dugon
Venom Systems Lab, NUI Galway
From: RTE Brainstorm

Other false widow spiders in Ireland and the UK

There are three species of false widow spiders that can now be found in Ireland and have become widespread throughout the country; (Steatoda nobilis, Steatoda grossa, Steatoda bipunctata).

Noble false widow spider

Steatoda nobilis

Rabbit hutch spider

Steatoda bipunctata

False widow spider in Ireland stories

Met my first false widow today!

Met my first false widow today!

This morning, a fresh sunny day in April in coastal Galway, just as we were getting the kids ready to leave for school, a false widow spider started making it's way from the front door across our hallway. It wasn't moving too quickly so I was able to get an envelope to put under it and then take it outside. Once outside, I immediately noticed it shot...

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False widow spider in my pajamas!

False widow spider in my pajamas!

A Close Encounter in Cork Hey there! Hope you're keeping well, I actually stumbled across my first false widow spider earlier today and identified it with the help of the internet. I have nothing but good things to say about it honestly! I typically tend to keep my pajamas on if I know I'm not going out for the day, so I had them on for quite a while. I...

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False widow spider in my house

False widow spider in my house

Lots of false widow spider webs Over the past year I have noticed a lot of false widow spider webs in my back garden around my shed. I recognised them due to their messy box/sail like shape - as opposed to the traditional neat patterned web of a typical garden spider. The spiders are only active at night so I wasn't too concerned. But I was very...

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Baby false widow spider bite?

Baby false widow spider bite?

Was it a baby false widow spider bite? I'm pretty sure I sustained a baby false widow spider bite this summer but I'm not 100% sure. I have seen loads of the adults recently, really for the first time too. A neighbour told me last year that they had a lot of false widow spiders in their back garden. That year I started to notice a few around the outside...

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