With the House Spider Survey smashing through its third week, the spider sightings are coming in thick and fast from across the country. Mailboxes here at the Society of Biology are filling up with all of your spider photos, and it seems we as a nation are braver than we once thought when it comes to arachnids- some of these shots are shockingly up close and personal!
Photos already submitted of Tegenaria species. Credits from top to bottom: John Bartholomew, Simon Wills, Mike Beard
Our free house spider app for iPhone and Android, ‘Spider in da house’ has been downloaded over 3000 times alone, whilst spider spotting numbers recorded from both the app and through our website are well over 3,400 too. With the online community already whipped up into a spider-fuelled frenzy, once spider season peaks we are hoping for an even greater surge of entries.
Out of the spider photos sent to us, the majority so far have been Tegenaria species- these are the largest spiders that are commonly spotted at this time of year and are drawing attention to them with their large size and hairy legs.
One of the Tegenaria spiders spotted with a ruler to show just how big these arachnids are. Credit: Derek Wright
That’s not to say these common house spiders are stealing all the spotlight- we have had some amazing photos sent into us too of some of the other, shyer species that are scuttling around. Although the survey is looking for records of Tegenaria, we are always happy to see pictures of other species.
Credits from top to bottom: Jonathan Parkhouse, John Bartholomew
Around this time of year, the male house spiders are on the move looking for a mate. The females wait in their webs under your shed, stairs or in the attic, and males become more visible whilst wandering in the house in an attempt to find that perfect female.
On finding a female ready to receive him, the male will remain with her for several weeks and mate with her repeatedly, maximising his chance of ensuring there will be spiderlings hatching by spring. The male uses his enlarged front pedipelps to transfer sperm into the abdomen of the female. These look a bit like boxing gloves, so if you spot a spider this autumn try taking a guess at whether your specimen is a lonely lothario or a lady in waiting.
If you have any more questions about these adventurous arachnids, we have lots of information about spiders on our website.
When you spot a spider on its quest to find love, let us know! You can download our app for an Apple or Android phone to submit photos from, or send it to us to help identify just exactly what you spider may be. If you don’t have a smart phone don’t worry, we have online identification charts to help you out too. You can also submit your sightings online.
Happy spider searching!