Hacklemesh Weaver Spiders (or Hackledmesh Weaver), Callobius Bennetti, belong to the Callobius family which is a spider genus in the family Amaurobiidae. Amaurobiidae is a family of spiders also known as “tangled nest spiders”, “night spiders” or “hacklemesh weavers”. These cribellate spiders of medium size look similar to the related Agelenidae, (funnel weavers) but have shorter legs and much smaller spinnerets. They share many similarities with the Funnel Web weaver spiders, although the funnel web spiders mostly build their webs in grass. Both can live through the winter, and therefore they are often found in households during the cold weather.
Their webs have irregular looking webs in bark and woodpiles and often have roughly the form of a funnel. There are 28 Callobius species that occur in North America and Eurasia. They are sometimes mistaken for hobo spiders because of the herring bone pattern on their abdomen but their cephalothoraxes are shiny. Physically, they tend to have a two-toned body with a shiny looking cephalothorax and fuzzy abdomen with a pattern. Amaurobiidae have eight eyes that are similar in size, are typically of light (or white) color, and are arranged in two rows. The females range from 5 to 14 millimetres in length and the males from 5 to 12.5 millimetres. The carapace is a reddish, mahogany brown, darkest at the front in the region of the eyes and the chelicerae. The legs are lighter in colour than the carapace.
The abdomen is generally gray, although the background colour varies from a pinkish flesh color to a dark, charcoal gray. A pattern of lighter areas or spots (which sometimes run together) can produce a larger, lighter central area. It is common to have chevron-type lighter areas on the posterior portion of the abdomen. The web is an irregular “mesh” with an ill-defined tube retreat in the areas previously described. Their bites are not known to be dangerous but, like most spiders, can be painful. In the UK they are called lace web spiders.
All photos are copyright to their owners and may not be reproduced without permission. You can click on the individual images to enlarge them.