Large House Spider – Tegenaria gigantea

Body length Female 11-16mm, male 10-14mm. Also called the Giant House Spider, it is 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. A microscope and expert examination is required to identify the species accurately, thus the images depict the species only.

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.

To note, this group of Large House Spiders has gone through a recent change. T. gigantea, T. saeva and T. atrica have been collectively reclassified as Eratigena atrica, and although this is valid all around the world, the British Arachnological Society doesn’t accept it as yet, if ever. So Tegenaria sp (atrica group) may be more widely seen in reference.