Warnings over noble false widow spider bites as numbers rise across the UK
A surge in spider bites from noble black widow spiders have been reported across the UK, which in some cases cause severe side-effects.
A study by the international medical journal, Clinical Toxicology, says that bite victims have on occasion experienced similar symptoms to pure black widow spider bites and can require hospital admission.
Originating from Madeira and the Canary Islands, the noble false widow spider Steatoda nobilis, now has the potential to become one of the world’s most invasive species of spider.
It was first documented in Britain over 140 years ago, but in recent decades the species has suddenly increased in numbers, significantly expanding its range and density.
The reasons behind the recent surge remain unclear, but scientists have ruled out climate change as a likely cause and suggested that a new genetic mutation within the species may have made noble false widows more adaptable to new environments.
With the increase in the spiders around homes, bites are becoming more prevalent and scientists are now beginning to realise the full medical importance of these spiders.
Envenomation symptoms can be both localised and systemic, ranging from mild to debilitating pain with mild to intense swelling.
Some victims have experienced tremors, reduced or elevated blood pressure, nausea and impaired mobility.
In rare instances, victims have developed minor wounds at the bite site or had to be treated for severe bacterial infections.