Location: Masai Mara, Kenya
December 22, 2010 5:01 am
Hi Bugman,
As you mentioned you don’t get many entries from East Africa, here are a few close-ups of the spiders I live with.

Picture 2: A ”False Button” Steatoda capensis. Came to this conclusion after much discussion with others and much searching.

Keep an eye out for more. I’ve got tonnes!
Signature: Zarek

False Button Spider

Dear Zarek,
Thanks for sending an image of a False Button Spider,
Steatoda capensis,  from the family Theridiidae, the same family that includes the highly venomous Widow Spiders.

When I first found this one (Steatoda capensis), I was a little afraid that it was a Brown Button, but I could never get a good view of the underside of its abdomen to look for that red hourglass shape.  I searched and searched online and finally found some good pictures that pretty much exactly matched what I was looking at.  None of the Latrodectus (widow) pictures I found matched.
Steatoda’s sometimes prey on Latrodectus species, though their venom is not considered to be as dangerous to humans as the black or brown widow’s venom.  Some Steatoda do still have relatively potent venom, though, so I’m still not going to be picking it up and fiddling around with it.
Zarek Cockar

I forgot to clarify, while some Steatoda can have slightly dangerous venom in their bite, this particular one, Steatoda capensis, does not.
Just a general note:  A good reference for Southern African arachnids is the African Arachnid Database (AFRAD), put together by Dr. Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman, a well recognized arachnid expert in SA.  Website: http://www.arc.agric.za/afrad/afradmain.aspx

Update from Zarek
False Button Full Body
Location: Masai Mara, Kenya
December 23, 2010 4:38 am
Hi Daniel,
Here’s a full body photo of the False Button Spider (Steatoda capensis) I sent in earlier.
She was about 3cm long.
There were two that hung around my tent for several days.
Signature: Zarek

False Button Spider

Thanks for the full body view Zarek.  The resemblance to the Widow Spiders in the genus Latrodectus is much more evident in this image.

Location: Africa

4 Responses to False Button Spider from Kenya

  1. Remirez says:

    I may be wrong about the specific name.
    I don’t think capensis occurs here.

    However the two Steatodas that I can find that DO occur here don’t really look like this.
    I have pictures of the males as well, so I’m checking both. I’ll let you know if I come up with anything better.

  2. mwardian says:

    I am currently near Tsavo East and have been hanging out with this spider in my hut which is high up in a web near the top. She has barely moved the whole month we’ve been here. It looks like she also has a sac of eggs near her. Would this be considered a false button spider? Sorry for the blurry photo: http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t377/mwardian/IMG_1803_zpsa94888d6.jpg

    Should I be concerned about the sac of eggs? Thanks!

    • bugman says:

      We cannot say for certain from your photo if this is a False Button Spider. It does appear to be a member of the Cobweb Spider family.

  3. Terrance says:

    I live in Durban (Umkomaas) and have see two large females that look like the first image . Do they only live in Kenya ?

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