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House Spider

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Carapace and sternum are yellow to brown, legs are yellow to brown with darker rings; the abdomen is higher than long, is gray with black and white pigment, and has a white spot behind the highest point, surrounded anteriorly by black with dark lines running down the sides and black chevrons behind; the venter has two light patches enclosing a darker area; the male is darker and smaller than the female; females range from 5 to 8 mm in length, while males are generally about 4 mm in length.

emales and juveniles make typical theridiid webs (tangle webs). These webs are frequently made between two adjoining edges of a building, for example, between an eave and a wall. Many individuals may occur in the same area and build nearly contiguous webs covering large areas of eaves, wall space, and window frames. Webs may be built both inside and outside of buildings; when inside, they are frequently a major contributor to the build-up of "cobwebs." Sheds, privies, barns and stables, in addition to dwellings, may have heavy populations of this species. Other characteristic habitats include undersides of highway bridges and culverts. It is largely absent in wild situations except around entrances and in chambers of eaves, on dry mountain ledges, and on dry ledges of river bluffs.

A. tepidariorum feeds on a variety of prey, including German cockroaches and scorpions. While awaiting prey, spiders are usually positioned in the middle of their webs, but resting individuals may be nearer a lateral or upper edge of the web, where the complex color pattern on the spiders' bodies near the substrate may help camouflage them against some enemies. Frequently males may be seen hanging in webs of adult and sub adult females. A single female, may produce many pear-shaped light brown eggsacs during the year, which are hung freely in the web. At least in Florida, all stages seem to occur throughout the year.


Courtesy Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

 

 

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