The white spider is poisonous

Baldingen - This spider frightens an Aargau woman - but is it a "white widow"?

This spider frightens an Aargau woman - but is it a "white widow"?

A spider caused a stir in a garden in the Zurzibiet community.

Exotic animals are keeping parts of the Aargau in suspense these days. Above all, the supposed existence of a caiman in Lake Hallwil. It is still unclear whether the reptile actually exists. In the past few weeks there has also been excitement among an AZ reader in Baldingen. According to her descriptions, she spotted a "white widow" in her garden who had eaten insects with relish. The woman photographed the animal and compared it with pictures on the Internet. It was clear to her that it must be a "white widow".

Characteristic of the spider are their spherical abdomen and their long thin legs. It is true that it is not particularly aggressive and its bite is usually not dangerous to humans. However, it can be fatal for frail people or children.

"If it were actually a so-called Latrodectus pallidus, it would be tantamount to an extraordinary event," says Yves Gonseth. He heads the Swiss Center for Fauna Cartography in Neuchâtel. According to Gonseth, the “White Widow” has never been seen in our latitudes. The species occurs mainly in North Africa, the Middle East and from Iran to several Central Asian countries. Their distribution area is in steppes and desert-like landscapes.

Ambros Hänggi, curator for life sciences at the Natural History Museum in Basel, gives the all-clear after examining the pictures. "The animal mentioned is the" changeable crab spider ". In the case of the "White Widow", the back of the body would be much more rounded and, above all, the legs would not protrude so sideways. The reddish ribbon would also be missing, says Hänggi.

Confusion about the internet too

This does not mean that caution is also required with the variable crab spider. “Of the approximately 1,000 species in Switzerland, only just under a dozen are capable of penetrating human skin with their poisonous claws,” says Ambros Hänggi. Some of them are painful, like bee stings. "Complications can only arise for people with allergies."

He does not want to reproach the eager observer for the mix-up. "I get such reports from time to time." Not least because a search for images of «White Widow» on the Internet would incorrectly show a lot of crab spiders.