Biting spiders force UK school closure

October 23, 2013
A spider stands on her cobweb on September 10, 2009

Creepy crawlies, in the form of a venomous spider infestation, has forced a school in Britain to close a week before Halloween.

The Dean Academy, a secondary school in southwest England's Gloucestershire, said it was closing Wednesday to get rid of the false widow spiders. The spiders are commonly mistaken for their relative, the , whose bite can be fatal.

The said no one has been bitten by the spider but local health authorities have advised it to close for the day to deal with the infestation.

Experts say the Steodata nobilis, a species of the false widow, are becoming more common in the U.K. and are the most dangerous of the 12 species of biting spiders known in Britain.

But they stress that spider bites are rare in Britain, and in most cases the symptoms are mild. The spider's bite may sting, swell up or cause discomfort like a wasp sting, but has not been known to cause deaths.

"They're not aggressive , they don't seek out humans," said David Lalloo, a professor at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

"Most people won't get much of a reaction. Some people may feel a bit unwell for a day or two, but that's very rare," he said.

Explore further: Noble false widow spider marches north in the UK

Related Stories

Male black widows look for well-fed mates

July 7, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- According to a new study published in Animal Behaviour, a male black widow spider is able to identify a female spider that has eaten well by simply taking a few steps on the web she spins. Finding a well-fed ...

Recommended for you

Knowledge gap on the origin of sex

May 26, 2017

There are significant gaps in our knowledge on the evolution of sex, according to a research review on sex chromosomes from Lund University in Sweden. Even after more than a century of study, researchers do not know enough ...

The high cost of communication among social bees

May 26, 2017

(Phys.org)—Eusocial insects are predominantly dependent on chemosensory communication to coordinate social organization and define group membership. As the social complexity of a species increases, individual members require ...

Darwin was right: Females prefer sex with good listeners

May 26, 2017

Almost 150 years after Charles Darwin first proposed a little-known prediction from his theory of sexual selection, researchers have found that male moths with larger antennae are better at detecting female signals.

Why communication is vital—even among plants and funghi

May 26, 2017

Plant scientists at the University of Cambridge have found a plant protein indispensable for communication early in the formation of symbiosis - the mutually beneficial relationship between plants and fungi. Symbiosis significantly ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.