Brown house spider

Brown house spider

Brown house spider classification
The Brown house spider belongs to the genus Steatoda in the family Theridiidae. Its scientific name is Steatoda grossa. The genus Steatoda contains 122 recognized spider species. The False katipo spider (Steatoda capensis), the Western bud spider (Steatoda hespera) and the Triangulate cobweb spider (Steatoda triangulosa) are a few examples of close Brown house spider relatives.

Brown house spider name
The Brown house spider is also called Cupboard spider and Dark comb-footed spider. Since it is one of several spider species that people tend to confuse with the infamous Black widow spider, it is sometimes referred to as False black widow spider; and epithet that it shares with many other American spider species.

Brown house spider range and habitat
The Brown house spider is found in many different parts of the world, including Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. In the wild, the Brown house spider will typically create its web under rocks and among timber. It derives its name from its fondness of man made constructions and Brown house spider webs are often found in dark and generally undisturbed parts of humans dwellings, such as garages, tool sheds, behind furniture etcetera. 

Brown house spider description
The female Brown house spider reaches a size of 6-10.5 millimetres as an adult. The male is smaller and will typically stay between 4.1 and 7.2 millimetres. He is also more slender than the female Brown house spider. The female spider has a bulbous abdomen. Both sexes display a dark coloration. The shade can be black or brown-purple and the body is decorated with light coloured markings. You can easily tell the difference between the Brown house spider and the Black widow spider, since the Black widow spider have a red hourglass shaped marking.

Brown house spider bite
The Brown house spider is not an aggressive species and humans are never considered prey. It is theoretically possible for a Brown house spider to confuse a human finger for prey if you put your finger in its web, but in reality humans are typically perceived as too large and the Brown house spider will flee rather than bite. Most Brown house spider bites occur when the spider is unable to escape, e.g. when it is squeezed by human hand. The Brown house spider does not have sharp eyes and it will instead depend on vibrations when orienting itself.  

The Brown house spider bite is rarely dangerous to humans. Common symptoms include blisters around the bitten area, minor skin lesions and light general discomfort. There are a few instances where more serious symptoms have developed. First aid and medical attention is usually not required, but if you develop severe symptoms or if the symptoms persist, it is naturally always advisable to contact a health professional. If you experience pain or swelling, you can place a cold pack over the wound to decrease the discomfort. There are two reported instances where Red-back spider (Latrodectus hasselti) antivenom has been successful when treating Brown house spider bite symptoms. 


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