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Steatoda grossa

Fact Box
Species:
Steatoda grossa
(ID by Greg Anderson)
(The markings on this species are somewhat variable but there could be more than one species in a images below)
Family:
Theridiidae
Body length:
female: 7 mm
male: 4 mm
Habitat:
This spider is often found under loose bark and in leaf litter in eucalypts and may also venture into houses
Toxicity:
Uncertain but treat as potentially dangerous to humans
Steatoda species
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Another female
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Female and male
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Female and male
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Another female
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Another male
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Male underside
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Another specimen

As can be seen from the photos on this page the lighter coloured markings seen on the abdomen of this black spider are variable from specimen to specimen and probably are not unique to this cosmopolitan species.

The spider presented above is most likely to be the cupboard spider, Steatoda grossa, as named in Jennifer Shield's "Spiders of Bendigo" booklet. On the other hand, at least one of the photos included on this page appears to be a perfect match for a spider labelled as Steatoda paykulliana on page 221 of "A Guide to Spiders of Britain and Northern Europe" by D. Jones. Both of these Steatoda species are considered to be cosmopolitan but Platnick's World Spider Catalog lists S. paykulliana as not being in Australia. However, the catalog does list three Western Australian Steatoda species as well as several in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea as well as two other cosmopolitan species and one that is described as pantropical. For these reasons and because of the possibility of undescribe Australian Steatoda species the species name of the spider presented on this page should be considered tentative for the time being.

Note that there have been reports from Europe of Steatoda species causing significant illness in humans. In addition, Isbister and Gray (Journal of Toxicology; Clinical toxicology, 2003, Vol. 41, pages 809-819) have noted that bites by Steatoda species in Australia can cause prolonged pain and systemic effects similar to, though less severe than, those of the redback spider, Latrodectus hasselti. Fortunately, the available redback spider antivenom also seems to be effective in instances of Steatoda envenomation.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Latrodectus hasselti.


Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 17 July 2017.