This spider has taken up residence in one of my bathrooms, and I was hoping someone could ID the species and let me know if it’s potentially significantly harmful. Temperament has been very docile, and it takes care of a ton of fruit flies, but I’ll relocate it outside if it’s a health risk to myself, my cat, or my visitors.
I’m going to guess that is a brown widow. But I’m not an expert on those. Same venom as their black cousins, they just inject much less of it when biting.
It’s hard to say for sure without a clear dorsal view, but it looks more like a well-fed common house spider than a brown widow to me. Common house spiders are in the same family as widows (the comb-footed cobweb spiders), but their venom is not dangerous at all to humans.
But if you decide to move her, don’t use your bare hands, just to be safe! Definitely don’t bet your life on my ID.
In the third picture…is that a molt up in the left corner of her web, or is it a male spider? If it’s a male, it’s definitely a common house spider. They typically don’t eat their boyfriends, and sometimes after mating, he’ll actually share her web and even meals with her. (Ladies, you know how it goes sometimes. You go on one date with a guy, and then he just invites himself to move right in! )
After looking at a few reference pictures, I’m reasonably confident it’s a house spider and not a widow. From the pictures here, she doesn’t appear to have the extra-long first and fourth pairs of legs that the Latrodectus spiders have. Brown widows also have a red or orange (can also be yellow or cream-coloured) ventral hourglass marking like their black cousins, and your spider seems to lack that from what I can see. Plus she’s in a window frame, which is a location known to be favoured by house spiders, but not so much by widows.
If she was in my house, I’d feel comfortable leaving her be, for whatever that may be worth.
I concur with this. I just went and looked at some that we have here. There are a lot in our reptile room. Keeps the gnats down.
They’re great for pest control! Only downside is that they tend to leave a graveyard of fly corpses under their webs.
I’ve never actually seen a common house spider around my parts. I’m not sure we have them here. Which is kind of a bummer, because I think they’re a really cool species, I wouldn’t mind having a few around my home. Guess I’ll have to settle for the celler spiders, tiny jumpers, and odd “mystery spiders” that I do have. Occasionally a false widow finds their way indoors, but mostly they seem to stay outside.
Thank you so much guys! I’m definitely inclined to leave her be- she has a huge fungus gnat/fruit fly graveyard under her web, so she’s been earning her keep.
I apologize for the subpar pictures, she’s in a very inconvenient location that’s tough to photograph. She’s also quite small and I don’t have any digital camera other than my phone. I can’t wait for cellphones to have good macro capability!
Yeah, given both the extensive collection of fly corpses under her web, as well as her very plump booty, I think it’s safe to say she’s doing her job keeping your fly population in check.