According to RTE, a spider expert who’s based in Galway has asked for anyone who may have been bitten by a False Widow to contact his lab. Dr Dugon and Mr Dunbar told the Independent to keep the spider and reach out to them: “We recommend that victims keep the spider – even if it is dead, and to contact us at NUI Galway Venom System Lab and to go and see their GP if they develop swelling, extensive redness or if they feel “ill”.

This warning comes shortly after a Waterford woman was hospitalised for days following a serious bite from a False Widow spider.

What is a False Widow? Wikipedia explains:

Steatoda nobilis is a spider in the genus Steatoda, known in the United Kingdom as the noble false widow and often referred to as the false widow. As the common name indicates, the spider superficially resembles and is frequently confused for the black widow and other spiders in the genus Latrodectus, which can have medically significant venom.

Steatoda nobilis is native to Madeira and the Canary Islands from where it allegedly spread to Europe, and arrived in England before 1879, perhaps through cargo sent to Torquay. In England it has a reputation as one of the few local spider species which is capable of inflicting a painful bite to humans, with most bites resulting in symptoms similar to a bee or wasp sting. It has also been found in California and Chile.

The bite of this spider, along with others in the genus Steatoda, can produce a set of symptoms known as steatodism. Symptoms of bites include intense pain radiating from the bite site, along with feverishness or general malaise. Male bites are less severe than those of females.


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