Gardener Paul Heafield of Colwell Road, Haywards Heath is wondering if a spider he found in a garden is a hybrid of the venomous black widow spider.
He says the insect (pictured) is not like a false black widow but does have two red triangles on its abdomen like the real thing.
He said: “It is worrying. I don’t think it is a Western black widow and it’s certainly not like the false black widow that I have come across up until now.
“False black widows seem to be prolific; I have never found as many as I have this year. I found one living in some fencing with a nest and bags of eggs.
“This latest spider has the red markings similar to a black widow but in the wrong order.”
Paul said the red triangles were separated rather than touching at their apexes as they are in a black widow proper.
However, he wonders if perhaps there is some mutation going on so that false black widows are taking on the appearance of their more deadly relatives.
If you know the answer to Paul’s spider mystery please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org