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Almost as soon as Tracy and I moved into our place a year ago I wrote about the giant house spider we saw on our patio screen door. Since then we’ve killed about 2-3 large spiders a week. We do live on the ground floor and have asked at least once to have the walls sprayed but was rejected citing that some spiders are good. This was from maintenance.
Well, true to what my mother and I used to do I’ve been catching and studying these. I also found it amazing how little people in this area know about these critters, calling them everything from brown recluse spiders, or Loxosceles reclusa, to simply "wolf spiders" because they’re hairy. Below I have pictures and two of the three spiders tagged that I’m sure about.
The giant house spider, or Tegenaria gigantea, was introduced by Europe and first thought to be discovered as recently as 1930 here in the Pacific Northwest. They’re mostly harmless, but their bite will hurt – akin to a bee sting. These tend to be most common throughout the Pacific Northwest.
The other I’m sure about is the Callobius severus. I have been unable to find a common name for it. It is a dark orange from its legs to its cephalothorax (mid-section), but its abdomen (back section) is dark with ring pattern.
The third spider may be a hobo spider – the Pacific Northwest’s alternative to the Southeast’s brown recluse spider – also known as the Tegenaria agrestis. This spider – also a native of Europe – is smaller than its cousin, the T. gigantea, but is toxic and can cause necrosis. So far I have been unable to confirm that this is a hobo spider and as an excellent guide from Washington State University states, I should assume it’s not a hobo spider. With the 1 in 3 odds of seeing one versus another of the Tegenaria species, however, my hopes – nay, my fears – are probable.
I have included a quarter in the picture to give you some idea of their size. You might also notice that the T. gigantea has only 6 legs and two large palps (they look like fangs, but are actually the male’s sex organs). Upon inspection I found that its front two legs are missing, presumably lost in a fight.
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