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False alarm over spiders
I WAS amused to see the report about the recent invasion of false widow spiders following an accidental introduction some years ago (The Press, October 9).
Maybe it’s the name of the spider, making readers think of the infamous black widow (to which it is distantly related) which is causing the furore.
There is a dozen species of spider in the UK which are capable of inflicting a bite on people, and all spiders are poisonous; it is how they immobilise their food. However, no spider found in the UK is particularly harmful, including these false widows.
True, the bite is reported as being painful, but so is the orb web garden spider, which bit me when I was a child, but one would have to be extraordinarily unlucky to suffer any lasting effects.
Spiders are wonderful animals and are an essential part of our ecosystem. None of them go out of their way to harm people, and they should be treated with respect.
The interesting things about this story are that human activity brought them to the UK and, possibly, the warming climate allowed them to spread northwards.
The issues of introduced organisms and climate change are more important than a single spider species.
John Cossham, Hull Road, York.
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