Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Comb-Clawed Spider - (Parasteatoda spp.)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 2/24/2014

The itsy-bitsy Comb-Clawed Spider climbed more than a waterspout; it can be found just about anywhere around or inside a building.

Comb-clawed, or Comb-Footed, spiders are the most common type of house spider in North America. They come in a variety of colors and typically form webs in corners of buildings (sheds, garages, homes). These sticky cob webs collect dust as well as insects, and commonly reproduced in scary movies and as front lawn Halloween decorations. The Comb-Clawed Spider is active at night, building its web under cover of dark. It rests on their webs during the day, waiting for a meal. It uses the almost invisible comb-like hairs on its 'ankles' to fling strands of web at its recently snared prey, aiding in securing the soon-to-be meal.

Females hang brown, papery egg sacs near their resting site and guard them until spiderlings hatch from it. If the egg case falls, she will fetch it and reattach it to her web. Female legs are banded with black and yellowish stripes. Males' legs are mostly orange in color.

This family of spiders includes species like the black widow, the brown widow and the American house spider, however, this species does not have a toxic venom like its more nefarious widowed cousin.

Fans of Spiderman may recognize the body shape of these spiders being that of the one that bites Peter Parker, imbuing him with spider powers.

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Category: Spider
Common name: Comb-Clawed Spider
Scientific Name: Parasteatoda spp.
Other Names: Comb-Footed Spider

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

Adult Size (Length): 5mm to 6mm (0.20in to 0.24in)

Identifying Colors: brown; tan; beige; white; black

Additional Descriptors: tiny, speckled, biting

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; Mexico

* 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.