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What is a Southern house spider?

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Quick Answer

The southern house spider is a large species of spider common in parts of the southern United States. There are considerable differences between males and females, and the males are sometimes mistaken for the dangerous brown recluse spider. They inhabit the inside and outside of buildings and prey on insects drawn to the lights.

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Full Answer

Female southern house spiders weave intricate webs in dark areas where there are holes or crevices to crawl into and nest. The webs are not sticky, but the prey becomes tangled in their complex threads. During the day, the spiders hide in a nearby crevice, but at night they come out and sit on the web. In time, the webs develop a messy appearance due to accumulated debris and remnants of prey. Males do not remain in a stationary location but instead wander about in search of prey and females to mate with. When the male finds a female, he builds a large web and lures the female out of its nest. After mating, the female lays around 200 eggs, wraps them in a silken sac and guards them within her nest.

Although southern house spiders resemble the brown recluse, they are larger, lack the distinctive violin mark of the recluse and have different eye arrangements. Southern house spiders are timid. Their venom is harmless, and their bite is so weak it cannot easily penetrate human skin.

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