Articles | Volume 22, issue 2
AGORA: Ideas and Concepts
09 Dec 2022
AGORA: Ideas and Concepts |  | 09 Dec 2022

Comment on Dunbar et al. (2022) “Webslinger vs. Dark Knight: First record of a false widow spider Steatoda nobilis preying on a pipistrelle bat in Britain”

Serena E. Dool and Gabriele Uhl

Related subject area

Behavioural Ecology
Frog vocalization is influenced by moon phases: Brazilian frogs tend to prefer low-albedo phases
Mauro S. C. S. Lima, Jonas Pederassi, Ulisses Caramaschi, Kléssia Denise S. S. Sousa, and Carlos Alberto S. Souza
Web Ecol., 21, 1–13,,, 2021
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Life in the suburbs: artificial heat source selection for nocturnal thermoregulation in a diurnally active tropical lizard
NioKing Amadi, Robert Belema, Harrison Obodo Chukwu, Daniele Dendi, Amuzie Chidinma, Roger Meek, and Luca Luiselli
Web Ecol., 20, 161–172,,, 2020
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L. Vignoli and L. Luiselli
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Cited articles

Allaby, M.: A Dictionary of Ecology, in: 4th Edn., Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK,, 2010. 
Argintean, S., Chen, J., Kim, M., and Moore A. M. F.: Resilient silk captures prey in black widow cobwebs, Appl. Phys.-Mater. Sci. Process., 82, 235–241,, 2006. 
Benjamin, S. P. and Zschokke, S.: Untangling the tangle-web: web construction behavior of the comb-footed spider Steatoda triangulosa and comments on phylogenetic implications (Araneae: Theridiidae), J. Insect Behav., 15, 791–809,, 2002. 
Blackledge, T. A., Swindeman, J. E., and Hayashi, C. Y.: Quasistatic and continuous dynamic characterization of the mechanical properties of silk from the cobweb of the black widow spider Latrodectus hesperus, J. Exp. Biol., 208, 1937–1949,, 2005. 
Dietz, C., Von Helversen, O., and Nill, D.: Bats of Britain, Europe & Northwest Africa, A & C Black Publishers Ltd., London, ISBN 9781408105313, 2009. 
Short summary
We re-evaluate a recently published observation of a spider preying on a bat which made the news internationally and highlighted the potential negative impact of the spider. Spiders are not well loved creatures and often fall victim to false or exaggerated claims in the media. In the current case, we believe the authors' lack of familiarity with bat biology led them to an erroneous conclusion of predation, which was echoed by the media, when no evidence was shown to support this.