Comb-footed Spiders

The Theridiidae get their common name from the presence of a series of serated spines along the outside margin of the tarsi on their fourth pair of legs.  It is one of the largest spider families in the world with over 2500 species so far described.

female Enoplognatha ovata tending her egg-sac - Anglesey, Wales - July 2008

The most famous members of this family are the Black Widows of North America and the closely related Australian Red-back Spider (Lactrodectus hasselti).  The Red-back is Australia's most dangerous spider and prior to an anti-venom being developed at least 13 deaths were attributed to its bite.  However, since the anti-venom became widely available in the 1960's, there have been no deaths resulting from 5000+ reported bites.  It is a very common and widespread spider in southern and eastern Australia and is frequently encountered in urban and residential areas.

female Australian Red-back Spider (Lactrodectus hasselti) - Victoria, Australia - October 2010

Theridion pictus - Nottinghamshire, England - June 2011

Theridion bimaculatum - Cheshire, England - May 2009