What exactly is a house spider?

BBC Wildlife contributor Stuart Blackman answers your wild question.

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House spider © Jo Price

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Several large spiders live in houses, including the daddy-long-legs spider Pholcus phalangioides, which makes scruffy webs in the corners of rooms and cupboards, and the mouse spider Scotophaeus blackwalli, a sturdier, velvety species that prowls walls at night.

But the label ‘house spider’ is usually reserved for members of the genus Tegenaria, which lurk unseen in tube-webs until the autumn, when the leggy males scuttle around our abodes in search of the bulkier, more sedentary females.

Four species occur regularly in British houses, though they are tricky to tell apart, and arachnophobes will no doubt be delighted to know that a fifth now seems to be establishing itself here from mainland Europe.

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