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Spider Photos - Common House Spider

The common house spider (P. tepidariorum), referred to as American house spider internationally, is a spider species of the genus Parasteatoda which is mainly indigenous to the New World, with P. tepidariorum australis (common gray house spider) also encountered in some pars of Myanmar and Pakistan. American house spiders are synanthrope and build their tangled web in or near human dwellings, often in secluded areas such as between loose walls, behind open doors and attic windows. The prey mechanism is similar to that of the other cob-web spiders: following emitted disturbances on the web to entangle, and then paralyze its prey, which usually consists of household insects and invertebrates (often considered as pests). Therefore, in some regions, having those spiders inside a house may be considered beneficial, however, a hazard for a potential spider bite might exist.
Many thanks for allowing us to use the photos sent in. All photos are copyright to their owners and may not be reproduced without permission.
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COMMON HOUSE SPIDERS
(Parasteatoda tepidariorum)

Appearance:
Common House Spiders are generally dull in appearance, with patterns consisting of brown shades for coloration, often giving a vague spotted appearance that is particularly noticeable on the legs. Their average body size is a quarter-inch (6 mm) long, but they can be an inch (2.5 cm) or more across with legs outspread. These traits combined allow the spiders to blend into the background and escape notice. Like some other species of the family Theridiidae, P. tepidariorum shares a body shape and size that makes it similar to widow spiders, which have venom that is classified as potentially dangerous.

Life Cycle:
A male and female often share the same web for longer periods, and several females often build their webs in close proximity. However, several females will fight each other on an encounter. This species can live for more than a year after reaching maturity. Each egg sac contains from 100 to more than 400 eggs, with a single female producing up to 17 egg sacs. The hatchlings remain in the mother's web for several days.

Diet and Predation:
American house spiders usually feed on household pests such as flies, mosquitoes, ants and wasps. They can randomly attack grasshoppers, butterflies, cockroaches or other spiders depending on their size. If the prey is too agile, the spider will try shooting web at it from a distance before pulling the thread toward itself. Bigger females can also attract baby skinks inside their web by leaving fly remains hanging in it. Once its food dries out, the spider usually drops it to the floor in order to free some space in its web, instead of destroying and rebuilding it or changing its location. Three spider species usually prey upon them: the pirate spiders of the genus Mimetus (Mimetidae), as well as two jumping spider species - Phidippus variegatus and Metacyrba undata. The latter one also often falls prey to its own food when it gets trapped in the tangling web after missing the jump on its target. The assassin bug Stenolemus lanipes (Emesinae) feeds apparently exclusively on spiderlings of this species, but can also become prey of the adult spider.

Venom:
As these spiders live in constant presence of human beings around their habitat, they are not usually aggressive and will even let a human hand approach their web. As any other spider, however, they are afraid of bigger foes, and, in most cases, will retreat behind an obstacle (such as a dried leaf or prey remains) upon perceiving more than usual disturbance to their web. Further disturbance may lead to the spider dropping down on a thread, then running away from the web. If the distance is not considerable, it will usually return to its web within a couple of days. Otherwise, it will start a new one. American house spiders possess poor vision and cannot detect any movement further than on a 3-4 inch interval. If cornered, they will feign death as a last resort. American house spiders will bite humans only in self-defence and on condition of being violently grabbed and squeezed. Regular bites are dry and no more painful than a bee sting, but some females can deliver sharp, venomous bites on that occasion. If venom is administered with the bite, symptoms may include swelling and itching around the area and may trigger antibody allergies in some individuals. Medical attention is not required, but rest is recommended. The venom of American house spider is a neurotoxin similar to that of the black widow, but a lot less powerful in consistency. It is often extracted and sold as an insecticide for farmers of the United States and Canada. It is also powerful enough to kill the same species of spider on occasion.
Information: Wikipedia

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21 March, 2014:  
Hi there. My name is Sondra Johnson. I live in southern New Jersey. I found this spider hanging out in my garage. I can usually identify these little buggers since I am a spider lover, but this guy or gal has me puzzled.

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12 October, 2013:
Possibly Parasteatoda tepidariorum (American house spider)?

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23 August, 2013:
I found this in my garage, almost put my hand right on it shutting the garage door. I've never seen one like this before.

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10 August, 2013:
Glen, There seems to be an infestation this summer! Who are these wee beasties that seem to be encircling my home!!! Lou

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31 May, 2012:
Spider ID help

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4 August, 2013:
Hi Glen. Can you help me identify this spider. Got a few pictures of it. Found it in Freeport, Bahamas. Thanks Emerald

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30 June, 2013:
Hello! I have a picture of a spider, actually, two. It's all I could do for zooming (I don't think I know how to do better with my camera). But, it is not blurry. It was the best photo I could get. It is a photo from one of our sheds outside. We have three of these spiders, at least, and two have egg sacs. Is this a widow spider, or is it an orb weaver, or something else? The second picture is a different spider and it looks like it is eating something. I live in Northern Indiana. Olivia

Click for a larger view.

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Reply: This one is a common house spider - glen

26 August, 2012:
Hey Glen...This is Dana, the crazy woman who normally isn't too fond of spiders, but has become fond of a certain Orb Weaver who has made its residence just outside on her back porch light.... I just registered at SpiderzRule Website and tried to post at the forum with a picture of what I'm wondering is a Brown Widow....but it wouldn't let me post to the forum. Then I noticed in the lower right corner, the forum was "locked". So, I hope you don't mind, I'm attaching a pic here. Would you mind looking at it and seeing if you might be able to tell? Bad pics, you may not be able to tell, just a shot in the dark. It was underneath my twins cars they ride in kept in the backyard (on the cement, mind you). I'm constantly finding these little guys on the underneath of them when I flip them over hidden under the steering wheel or where the tires are. This particular day they were on BOTH of their cars. Ugh....I'm hoping there something else...can't get a pic of their belly and maybe they're too little anyway....Hope I'm not intruding...

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Reply: This one is a common house spider - glen

26 August, 2012:
hi Glen! i have several photos to send, some i would like identified if you can first i have the unknown spiders. some i suspect are steotoda group and some i suspect MIGHT be widows... but i am not sure. first 4 i think are steotoda. 5th photo steotoda or widow, i cannot tell but i do know he is male. the last 3 i think might be widows, one had a bit of red under the belly... Casey

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31 May, 2012:
Spider type?

Click for a larger view.

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Reply: I can't see the top to see any red markings but it looks more like a common house spider to me - glen

30 May, 2012:
Hi again Glen! We found this spider today hanging upside down above our screen door. There were seven others of the same type, all with in the same area... This one was the largest of them all. Their webs were extremely messy and "unorganized". I'm a little worried about this one... I think they are all some type of widow. We'd appreciate any information! Thanks again for your help! -Meg

Click for a larger view.

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Reply: This looks like a cobweb spider. http://bugguide.net/node/view/25686 - Laura

7 May, 2012: :
Do you know what kind of spider this is? And is it poisonous? It's in my storage cabinet outside. Thank you, Savannah

 

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3 September, 2011:
This is about as close as I can get with my camera staying in focus. I think there may be some egg sacks in the nest. Let me know if I should take some photos of those. I live in Gainesville, FL which is a swampy area in the upper middle part of the state.

Click for a larger view.

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3 September, 2011:
the second spider photo was taken outside. She lives in a window well (basement sump type bellow grade) this pic is feeding time about 7-8am. Also from late August. She has the shape of a widow, but not the coloring that I would associate with them. Any information on either of these spiders would be GREATLY appreciated, I've sent these photos to other so called expert sites and no one has bothered to reply in a week. Regards Pete

Click for a larger view.

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14 August, 2011:
Thank you Glen for the time you put into your website. I reside in Fort Wayne, Indiana and recently came across this spider. I first found one in a friends kitchen smaller one I went to look it up I thought is might be a brown widow. It was not till a month later my friend drag out her BBQ grill from her little metal shed and I seen on on the bottom side of it. Low and behold I looked in her shed and she had dozens of them everywhere. Each had like 3 egg sac near by and smaller males in the same web. I was surprised the spiders were so close to each other about 9-12 inches apart. I didn't think to take pictures of how many there was in her shed at the moment. We immediately went out and got spider spray. When I half way stepped in the shed I started spraying, I noticed couple black widows moving about also. People show similar pictures of these that look like American House Spider (Achaearanea tepidariorum), yet these are not 5 - 7mm more like 5-7 cm. The abdomen of this spider alone is bigger than most house spiders I seen. Yet the issue I have these have no orange on the bottom. The males are thinner and darker redish brown. So what are they?

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4 August, 2011:
Hi there, I came across this spider while cleaning and was beyond freaked out to say the least. I did attempt to "capture" it to take a photo for questioning so it is missing a few legs. My main concern is what type is it and is it poisonous? I have a 19 month old baby running around and would hate for her to happen upon one. Thank you for your time and help!!! Jennifer Location: Upstate NY, Schenectady County Date take: 08-02-2011 Size: about the size of a small pea or a small piece of corn

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4 August, 2011:
Hello, This lovely young lady and her egg sacs are right outside of my front door. Is this a spider of some concern as far as toxicity? We have experienced a few hobos in the house this year. I am not able to identify her. Respectfully, Debbie

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13 March, 2011:
I have a wolf spider infestation. I have gotten used to the non-aggressive, no-climbing, non-web-making (although sometimes HUGE and creepy looking) little creatures. I think we have an understanding. Which is why it was almost sad when I saw a web in my garage with literally a half dozen or so wolf corpses in it. This sadistic looking bugger was the owner. WAY smaller than most of my wolves, this evil looking spider appears to be killing them as a sport. I am not too concerned about the wolves, but I have 2 small kids, 2 dogs and a pregnant wife. What is this and does he pose a threat to my family? (Indianapolis, Indiana) Sincerely, 1LT McCarthy

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1 August, 2010:
Hi Glen, I've been using your site for a couple of years now to help identify spiders and get over my phobia of them. It's been extremely helpful. I recently moved and the new house has a lot of spiders in the area, so I took some photos of them to help me ID them. The first two photos are of Garden Orb Weavers. Both build their webs in the evening and then take them down in the early morning hours. The first one lives in the wind-chime on my porch, and rebuilds in the same spot every night since the guideline hasn't been disturbed. She's about the size of a nickel. The second orb weaver is much larger. The first night we came across her I accidentally disturbed her web, which wasn't hard to do since it's guidelines were larger than me. She had built a web between the eave of the house, the driveway, and a neighboring tree. Unfortunately the guideline on the driveway was right where my roommate parks so she got disturbed. The last two photos are of a Common House Spider and it's egg sac. It's built a series of webs near the back porch light, and it's been doing really well. Thank you for having such an awesome site. Please feel free to use these photos. Sincerely, Echo

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7 July, 2010:
Hey, now I have a spider I need you to identify. I found it in the basement but seemed to have found it way to my bathroom. I would appreciate it if you could tell me a bit about this one. I tried to take some more picks but it was at a weird angle. Thanks.

 

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28 June, 2010:
My boyfriend found this spider in its web in our gazebo in the backyard. We live in Cincinnati, OH. We're hoping you can tell us what it is. Samantha R.

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Reply: This is a common house spider - glen

24 June, 2010:

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28 December, 2009:
Glen, the last one is a picture of a tiny( size of a pencil eraser) Common House Spider as its wrapping up a baby lizard.

 

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23 August, 2009:
Hello. Perhaps you might be interested in a few of my photos to add to your collection, both of live and fossil spiders. They are, perhaps, nothing spectacular, but they are a bit different. I'll try to describe them in the order of attachment. Live spiders, all from Ann Arbor, MI, USA:  a pair of cobweb spiders. Yours sincerely, David

 

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Reply: Brown widows don't have egg sacs like this one so I'd say its a steatoda, of the same family.

28 June, 2009:
Good afternoon Glen, I have attached a couple of photos of a spider. I live in the central part of South Carolina by Sumter. We recently have run into a lot of these of some now have babies as indicated in my photos. It prefers the same habitat as a widow and looks like one also from my experience. The coloring throws me off though; nothing definitive. I would greatly appreciate your assistance in this matter. Thank you, Hardy

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4 February, 2008:
Two photos of probably a common House Spider that was on a gallon jar.

 

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2 November, 2007:
As i was going through my pictures of spiders, i almost forgot about this one, i couldn't believe when i saw this. a tiny house spider had a baby lizard in its web. i watched as the spider wove up the lizard...which was already dead by the time I started watching.:(
Kat, Wilmington North Carolina

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23 September, 2007:
HELLO AGAIN FRIENDS!! HERE I TAKE SOME SHOOTS OF THIS TINY SPIDER THAT LIKE IN THE BACK OF THE MIROR OF MY BATHROOM!! IS FUNNY, IN MY HOUSE ARE A LOT OF THIS LITTLE SPIDERS!!! THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT SOME OF THEM HAVE MORE DARKER THE ABDOMEN! WELL, THIS SPIDER IS FUNNY, BECAUSE SHE LIVE IN THE BACK OF MY MIRROR AND MAKE A NET BETWEEN THE MIRROR AND THE LITTLE TABLE THAT I USE TO PUT MY HAIR BRUSHES!!! IS IN A DISTANCE LIKE 10 CMS... BUT THE LADY WHO CLEAN MY HOUSE (THAT SHE LEARN WATCHING ME WITH THE SPIDERS, TO DON'T KILL IT) SHE ALWAYS LAUGH AND TELL ME: “THIS SPIDER IS PERSISTENT!!!” BECAUSE SHE CLEAN EVERY TUESDAY AND CLEAN THE SPIDER NET AND 2 DAYS AFTER THE NET COMES BACK!!!  YESTERDAY NIGHT I FINALLY CATCH IT AND TAKE IT SOME INTERESTING SHOTS IN THAT YOU CAN SEE THAT SHE IS HUNTING A LITTLE BUTTERFLY!!! I HOPE THAT THIS PIC CAN BE USEFUL IN YOUR STUDIES OR WEBSITE!!!! THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR TIME AND HOPE THAT YOU ENJOY THE PICS!!!! BEST REGARDS..... YOUR VENEZUELAN FRIEND.... GUF
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8 June, 2007:
I have been having trouble identifying these spiders. I live in St. Augustine, FL and my house is crawling with these spiders. They started showing up everywhere this spring. I'm finding their webs under the furniture, in hidden corners, and I even found them under my 3 year olds bed. I believe they are common house spiders after seeing the pictures on your site, but would like to make sure. The two pics with the blue background are the ones in my home. The third picture is a spider I have discovered living in the corner of my outside canopy, I fear it is a brown widow ( from other pictures I have seen) but have seen no egg sacks around it to help me identify it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Fanny

 
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21 August, 2006:

Glen, I have about three webs attached to different corners of the house each with one of these in it. I believe they are Brown Widows, can you confirm this? Feel free to use this photo. Thanks.

- Jason

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