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 or 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, furthering their entanglement. 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. This spider can remain still for extremely long periods of time, waiting for prey and often avoiding notice from humans as well as insects.
They have a bulbous abdomen, neither spherical nor flat. Its brown coloring is speckled with white and dark patches and lines. This spider is small and inconspicuous, rarely bothering humans. They are not aggressive. They may opt to 'play dead' if threatened. If handled roughly though, they may bite, which can be painful for a day or so. Their venom is not lethal to humans unlike their close relative, the Black Widow.
Smaller males approach a female's web when ready to mate. A courtship 'dance' or ritual follows, ensuring the spiders do not attack each other. Females lay eggs in a pear-shaped, brown, papery egg case and hang it from the web. Mothers guard their eggs until they hatch and can live fore more than a year. Spiderlings may remain in the safety of their mother's web for a few days, but eventually disperse to find their own home.
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* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the American House Spider may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the American House Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.