A STAFFORDSHIRE spider expert has quelled fears over a suspected sighting of a false widow spider in the county.
Newsletter reader Simon Stack sent in a series of pictures of a spider he had captured in his bathroom he thought might be one of the infamous species currently terrifying arachnophobes across the country.
But county spider recorder Craig Slawson, based at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust – who last week volunteered to identify Newsletter readers spider pictures to reassure them – said the spider snapped by Mr Stack was ‘very common and totally harmless’.
“Although a wee bit out of focus, I can confirm it is definitely not a false widow, but rather a lace-web spider (Amaurobius), most likely the one commonly associated with houses Amaurobius similis - this is very common and totally harmless,” he said.
Mr Slawson said last week there had been no verified sighting of the Noble False Widow spider in Staffordshire to date, and even if someone did find one, the spider wasn’t dangerous anyway.
He said the photos people had been seeing in the press and on social media were mostly house and garden spiders, both of which are very common at this time of year.
“I am concerned that other spider species could be suffering because of people’s fears about false widow spiders, and would ask that they refrain from harming them,” he said. “All spiders are fantastic natural pest controllers so are best left to do their job, eating flies and other insects.”
Mr Slawson has offered to identify any species of spider from photograph if people email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.