A Walnut Orb-Weaver Spider (Nuctenea umbratica) retreating to its winter nest.

Sunrise: 07.11 Sunset: 05.35

The response of this Walnut Orb-Weaver Spider (Nuctenea umbratica), a spider of the Araneidae family, to my torch beam last night, was to crawl very slowly into its winter nest. This spider is very common in Hoo Wood, and seems to favour holes in rotting silver birch trees for nests.

Nuctenea umbratica is capable of biting humans, causing itchiness and a burning sensation followed by a red patch with white lumps; some people have compared their bite to an electric shock.

In the evening the spider constructs an orb-web up to 70 cm in diameter. A signaling thread leads from the web to her hiding place. After dusk she sits in the web’s center.


Walnut Orb-Weaver Spider (Nuctenea umbratica) retreating to its winter nest.


The base of a Walnut Orb-Weaver Spider’s (Nuctenea umbratica) winter nest.


5 thoughts on “A Walnut Orb-Weaver Spider (Nuctenea umbratica) retreating to its winter nest.

  1. I was bitten two months ago by a Nuctenea umbratica spider. On one hand there is a large blister and on the other eight small spots that are gradually blending into a similar blister.

    I found the spider in my bed!

    A specialist informed me that they rarely bite and only once, so I am confused.
    Geoffrey, Czech Republic


      • Hi Mike,
        I don’t think that I am particularly allergic.
        What I have found is that despite having spent many hours searching I cannot find an answer to the problem which continues to get worse.

        Doctors refer me to skin specialists and skin specialists refer me back to doctors. The short answer is that the medical practitioners whom I have seen so far just don’t have a clue.

        I suppose if I lived in the southern states of the USA or far east there would be a better chance but in Europe no one has any experience, which is not really surprising.

        The spider in question was identified by an arachnologist who told me that they do not bite and if they do, only once. But this one was living in my bed! I have just had a recount and there are ten bites on one hand that are gradually combining into one blister. The other hand began with a blister but could be three bites that have combined.

        Does anyone else have experience of having been bitten many times by a Nuctenea umbratica?



      • I’m sure that it was not Mike, firstly I have a photograph I took of the little beast and secondly because my wife was bitten by a brown recluse when we lived in Florida. We instantly visited a local doctor who removed some of the flesh around the bite and there were no after effects.
        By the way I live in the Czech Republic now.
        In fact I thought it was an ummidea spider but I was corrected by an expert.
        We are departing for the rest of the day.


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