T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Domestic spider (Achaearanea tepidariorum)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:Arthropoda
Class:Arachnida
Order:Araneae
Family:Theridiidae
Genus:Parasteatoda
Species:P. tepidariorum
Binomial name: Parasteatoda tepidariorum   
Synonym: Achaearanea tepidariorum
Common name: White cobweb spider.Domestic spider.

Parasteatoda tepidariorum build their tangled webs in or near human dwellings, often in secluded areas such as between loose walls, behind open doors and attic windows. The prey mechanism is similar to that of the other cob-web spiders: following emitted disturbances on the web to entangle, and then paralyze its prey, which usually consists of household insects and other invertebrates.

A male and female often share the same web for longer periods, and several females often build their webs in close proximity. However, several females will fight each other on an encounter. This species can live for more than a year after reaching maturity. Each egg sac contains from 100 to more than 400 eggs, with a single female producing up to 17 light brown oval egg sacs. The hatchlings remain in the mother's web for several days.

These spiders will bite humans only in self-defense and on condition of being violently grabbed and squeezed. Regular bites are dry and no more painful than a bee sting, but some females can deliver sharp, venomous bites on that occasion. If venom is administered with the bite, symptoms may include swelling and itching around the area and may trigger antibody allergies in some individuals. Medical attention is not required, but rest is recommended.

This specimen was photographed climbing around a garden plant next to a shed