Giant House Spider

Tegenaria duellica

I found this large spider in my rear garden. Quite a long-legged and hairy-legged spider, which like its body, are generally dark brown in colour. The carapace is brownish with two rows of darker markings and a pale edge. The abdomen has a central pale line with regular dark markings trailing from it. There are several similar species, but this is the most common and likely to be seen. Body length Females 11-16mm, males 10-14mm.

They form a small untidy sheet web with a funnel-shaped retreat. The males will live with the females for several weeks before he dies, and then she eats him. The female can apparently live for several years and can go for long periods without food or water. But like most European spiders, they are harmless to humans. They feed on insects and invertebrates.

The females maybe seen all year round, where as the males are observed late summer to early autumn rapidly running across house floors on their substantially longer legs, or getting in a fluster trapped in baths, but mainly in search of a mate. They most frequent houses, sheds, garages and other outbuildings, but are also seen in log piles, tree hollows, caves, under stones and in holes in banks. Common and widespread throughout, especially in southern England.

Photographs taken June 2015, rear garden, Staffordshire.

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