N A T U R K U N D L I C H E S   I N F O R M A T I O N S S Y S T E M

Steatoda paykulliana (Walckenaer, 1805)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Steatoda paykulliana (Walckenaer, 1805)
Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Theridion paykullianum Walckenaer, 1805, Audouin, 1826; Phrurolithus hamatus C. L. Koch, 1839, Theridion triste Walckenaer, 1841; Lithyphantes paykullianus Thorell, 1875;


: Fruška gora (Komesarovac), 2009.      
Picture from: © Savic Dragisa 2010
Detailed view

Description of adults: Examined: 3 and 3 . Body length: about 7 mm, about 15 mm (Nentwig at all, 2003). Both sexes have the same appearance, shiny, black, subspherical abdomen with white, orange, yellow or red bandage on the top, and often also along the centre. The prosoma and relatively long, slender legs are black. Prosoma is also low (flattened), and chelicerae strong.


According to Platnick (2010) this species is present in Europe, from Mediterranean to Central Asia. In Fauna Europea also stands that S.paykulliana is recorded in Mediterranean and in several central – European countries, but not in Northern region or in Russian part of Europe (van Helsdingen, 2010).


This venomous false widow spider could often be mistaken with original black widow spider (Latrodectus sp.). They have same black colour, red mark on abdomen and same type of web (cobweb). They could even live in the same habitats but, contact with both spiders is very rare. Usually this species could be found under the rocks and stones, but also makes burrow in cracks or gaps of soil and in front of that, in low vegetation, could be found a tangle-web. During the day spider is in his shelter, but at night waits on its web. (personal experiences with captured specimens). Adult females could be found probably all year; adult males in spring and autumn.


Male palp :embolus very short, not coiled Epigyne: Epigyne with strong and chitinized ridges further details (Nentwig et al. 2010)


Every Steatoda species have a special mark on the abdomen (except S.grossa), and very well defined genital structure, so mistakes should be minimal, but appearance that looks like Latrodectus sp. could lead to wrong conclusion.

Importance for humans:

Has a medically significant, but not serious bite. The symptoms associated with the bite of several Steatoda species are known as steatodism. According to some literature data, only female have hazardous poison that could influences some mammals. Poison is apparently neurotoxic, but weaker than that of Latrodectus. Species is more aggressive, and bite is more mechanically stronger then of real black widow. In traditional Italian folk medicine, persons bitten by Steatoda will be heal by spinster, while bitten by Latrodectus would be accepted by widow.

Worth knowing:


Helsdingen, P. van 2010. Araneae. Fauna Europaea version 2.2., http://www.faunaeur.org [online 19 June 2010].
Nentwig W., A. Hänggi, C. Kropf & T. Blick 2003. Spinnen Mitteleuropas/Central European Spiders. An internet identification key. http://www.araneae.unibe.ch Version of 8.12.2003 [online 19 June 2010].
Platnick N. I. 2010. The world spider catalog, version 11.0. American Museum of Natural History, online at http://research.amnh.org/entomology/spiders/catalog/index.html [online 19 June 2010].
Savic´ D. 2010. Nature Photography by Dragiša Savic´ online at http://www.naturefg.com/index.html [online 19 June 2010].
Z. Maretic´ & D. Lebez 1985. Araneism with special reference to Europe.II edition. O.O. Zbora Lijecnika Hrvatske, Istra, Pula, Yugoslavia; 214pg (in Serbian)

Publication data:

Grbic Gordana: 2010.12.03
Grbic Gordana: 2011.04.03
Grbic Gordana: 2011.04.08
Grbic Gordana: 2011.04.10
Document reviewed by:
not reviewed: 2011.04.10
Document released by:
Grbic Gordana: 2011.04.10