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Comb-Clawed Spider (Parasteatoda spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Comb-Clawed Spider

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The itsy-bitsy Comb-Clawed Spider climbs more than waterspouts as it ventures everywhere around or inside buildings.

Updated: 01/03/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Comb-Clawed, or Comb-Footed, spiders are the most common type of house spider in North America. They come in a variety of dark colors ranging from brown to almost black. The bulbous abdomen has a mottled pattern on it. Female legs are banded with black and yellowish stripes. Males' legs are mostly orange in color. Females hang brown, papery egg sacs near their resting site and guard them until spiderlings hatch. If the egg case falls, the mother will fetch it and reattach it to her web.

Comb-Clawed Spiders typically form webs in the corners of buildings like sheds, garages, and homes. These sticky cob webs collect dust as well as insects, and commonly are mimicked in set design for scary movies as well as for Halloween decorations. The Comb-Clawed Spider is active at night, building its web under the cover of dark. It rests on its webs during the day, waiting for a meal. It uses the nearly invisible comb-like hairs on its 'ankles' to fling strands of web at its recently snared prey, further securing the soon-to-be meal.

This family of spiders includes species like the black widow, the brown widow and the American house spider, however, this species does not have toxic venom like its more nefarious widowed cousins. Fans of the fictional hero Spiderman may recognize this spider's body shape since it is the same as the one that bites Peter Parker, imbuing him with spider powers.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy

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

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Parasteatoda spp.
Other Name(s): Comb-Footed Spider
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 6mm (0.19" to 0.23")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; tan; beige; white; black
Descriptors: tiny; speckled; biting

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 5mm (0.2in) and 6mm (0.2in)
Lo: 5mm
Md: 5.5mm
Hi: 6mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Comb-Clawed 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 Comb-Clawed Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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