Insect Identification
Insect Identification Facebook Logo
Insect Identification

American House Spider - (Parasteatoda tepidariorum)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 10/20/2014

The spindly-legged and everpresent American House Spider is also known by the cobweb it creates.

Picture of American House Spider
Pic of the American House Spider
Image of the American House Spider
View All Images (9)

The webs created by American House Spiders are classic Halloween webs: tangled messes in all corners of the attic or windows. This type of web is called a cobweb. It is not uncommon for multiple females to have their webs in close proximity to one another. The presence of this spider adds a spooky atmosphere to old and abandoned buildings and homes.

The American House Spider is a Comb-Footed spider. It has long, skinny legs and comb-like hairs on the back tarsi ('ankles'). They fling strings of their spider silk at insects that get entangled in their web. The victim is then bitten, injected with venom and eaten at a later time. It is moved from the web to allow other prey to fall into the trap.

They have bulbous abdomen, neither spherical nor flat. This spider is inconspicuous and rarely bothers humans. They may opt to 'play dead' if threatened. If handled roughly though, they may bite. Their venom is not lethal to humans like their relative, the Black Widow.

Females lay eggs in a pear-shaped, brownish egg case and hangs it from the web. Females guard their eggs until they hatch and can live fore more than a year.

Text ©2005-2014 All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Permitted. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from is strictly prohibited.

Category: Spider
Common name: American House Spider
Scientific Name: Parasteatoda tepidariorum
Other Names: Cobweb Spider, House Spider, Domestic Spider

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
     Order: Araneae
      Family: Theridiidae
       Genus: Parasteatoda
        Species: tepidariorum

Adult Size (Length): 4mm to 6mm (0.16in to 0.24in) COMPARE

Identifying Colors: brown; tan; black, white

General Description: mottled, speckled, biting, venomous

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

NOTE: Material presented throughout this website is for entertainment value and should not to be construed as usable for scientific research or medical advice (insect bites, etc...). Please consult licensed, degreed professionals for such information. Email corrections / Comments to InsectIdentification at Gmail dot com.
BugFinder - Insects by Color or State
BugFinder allows for a quick search of the database by selecting primary color, secondary color, number of legs and the territory or state in question. If only one Primary color is present, select it again for Secondary color.
Primary Color:
Secondary Color:
Number of Legs:
General Category: