By an edhat reader
Is anyone able to ID this guy? Size is about 1/2" diameter... Thanks!
Update by edhat subscriber "MiniBeast"
Here is Dr. Oboyski’s reply as Executive Director of Essig Museum of Entomology at UC Berkeley:
"It might be Steatoda nobilis("noble false widow"), but it is much darker than any specimens I have seen. I am always wary of identifying small critters from photos. Some of the most important characters are difficult to see without the specimen under a microscope. Like almost all spiders, Steatoda have venom that helps subdue their prey. This venom is particularly effective against insects and other small arthropods, but not humans or other mammals. So they are not at all dangerous to us (unless you have an unusual allergy). The exception in California is the black widow, which has a venom that can kill small rodents and might make a person feel a bit ill (flu-like symptoms). By the way, there are no brown recluse in California.”