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Southern House (Kukulcania hibernalis)

The Southern House Spider is a large-sized spider inhibiting the Northern, Central and Southern parts of America. The male variant of this species is often mistaken for a brown recluse spider for their similar appearance.

Scientific Classification

Southern House Spider

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

Size: Females – 0.51 to 0.74 inches (13 to 19 mm) in length, larger in size than the males; Males –  0.35 to 0.39 inches (9 to 10 mm)

Female Southern House Spider

Color: Displaying sexual dimorphism, the males and females differ in color. The males are brown or amber, while the females have a black, brown or charcoal grey body. Both the sexes have light grey, velvety hair on their abdomen.

Southern House Spider Size

Other characteristic features: The females are also marked with a bulbous or ovoid shaped abdomen that gets distended further post feeding as well as during pregnancy. Their carapace is filled with dusky patches. The males, on the other hand, possess a slender body along with long legs.

Eggs

About 200 eggs are laid at a time and they are approximately 15mm in size, loosely covered in a ball of silk, guarded closely by the mother in the burrow she dwells in.

Southern House Spider Egg

Spiderlings

The spiderlings of this species are sociable, exhibiting traits like sibling recognition, as well as cooperating with others while capturing prey. They always remain in clusters be it after feeding or when dispersing from the mother spider on maturation.

Southern House Spiderlings

The Web

The webs of the Southern house spider are flat and tangled, having a woolly texture. Specialized webs are mostly spun by the females as well as juveniles, generally spotted on bridges, barns, and houses and occasionally under the bark of a tree.

Southern House Spider Web

Southern House Spider vs. Brown Recluse

People often take the Southern house spider, particularly the males, for a brown recluse because of their similarity in color and shape. However, the Southern House Spider is comparatively bigger in size than the Brown Recluse and also does not have the prominent violin mark as seen in the latter.

Do Southern House Spiders Bite and Are They Poisonous

Between the two sexes, the males are said to be the aggressive lot, though they do not bite right away unless bothered or trapped. Since they have small mouthparts, they are not poisonous as their venom cannot get deep into the human skin. However, reports of two cases mention that the victims encountered swelling and pain that continued for two days.

Southern House Spider Picture

Quick Facts

Lifespan Females live for approximately eight years; males have a much shorter life expectancy
Distribution The southern part of North America, all over Central America, and Southern American countries like Uruguay and Brazil
Habitat The male spiders are found in buildings on window sills, and shutters. The females are spotted under the bark of a tree as well as near bridges, houses, barns, and other human-made structures, where they spin their webs.
Diet Small insects like horseflies, house flies, cockroaches, beetles.

Southern House Spider Image

Did You Know

  • The males are always on the move in search of preys or even female spiders during the mating seasons. The females, on the other hand, remain confined to their dwellings and only move in the need to get hold of the prey stuck in their web.
  • They have a lengthy mating ritual lasting for about an hour in which none of them would move for a considerable period of time.
  • These creatures tend to crawl upon anything alive or dead which comes in their path since they have eyesight so poor that they can’t see what is in front of them.
  • They have a tendency to play dead when threatened, a tactic used against their predators.

Image Credits: Floridanature.org, Bugguide.net, Spiderid.com, Arizonensis.org, C1.staticflickr.com, Sciencesource.com,
Whatsthatbug.com, Backyardnature.net

The Southern House Spider is a large-sized spider inhibiting the Northern, Central and Southern parts of America. The male variant of this species is often mistaken for a brown recluse spider for their similar appearance.

Southern House Spider

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

Size: Females – 0.51 to 0.74 inches (13 to 19 mm) in length, larger in size than the males; Males –  0.35 to 0.39 inches (9 to 10 mm)

Female Southern House Spider

Color: Displaying sexual dimorphism, the males and females differ in color. The males are brown or amber, while the females have a black, brown or charcoal grey body. Both the sexes have light grey, velvety hair on their abdomen.

Southern House Spider Size

Other characteristic features: The females are also marked with a bulbous or ovoid shaped abdomen that gets distended further post feeding as well as during pregnancy. Their carapace is filled with dusky patches. The males, on the other hand, possess a slender body along with long legs.

Eggs

About 200 eggs are laid at a time and they are approximately 15mm in size, loosely covered in a ball of silk, guarded closely by the mother in the burrow she dwells in.

Southern House Spider Egg

Spiderlings

The spiderlings of this species are sociable, exhibiting traits like sibling recognition, as well as cooperating with others while capturing prey. They always remain in clusters be it after feeding or when dispersing from the mother spider on maturation.

Southern House Spiderlings

The Web

The webs of the Southern house spider are flat and tangled, having a woolly texture. Specialized webs are mostly spun by the females as well as juveniles, generally spotted on bridges, barns, and houses and occasionally under the bark of a tree.

Southern House Spider Web

Southern House Spider vs. Brown Recluse

People often take the Southern house spider, particularly the males, for a brown recluse because of their similarity in color and shape. However, the Southern House Spider is comparatively bigger in size than the Brown Recluse and also does not have the prominent violin mark as seen in the latter.

Do Southern House Spiders Bite and Are They Poisonous

Between the two sexes, the males are said to be the aggressive lot, though they do not bite right away unless bothered or trapped. Since they have small mouthparts, they are not poisonous as their venom cannot get deep into the human skin. However, reports of two cases mention that the victims encountered swelling and pain that continued for two days.

Southern House Spider Picture

Quick Facts

Lifespan Females live for approximately eight years; males have a much shorter life expectancy
Distribution The southern part of North America, all over Central America, and Southern American countries like Uruguay and Brazil
Habitat The male spiders are found in buildings on window sills, and shutters. The females are spotted under the bark of a tree as well as near bridges, houses, barns, and other human-made structures, where they spin their webs.
Diet Small insects like horseflies, house flies, cockroaches, beetles.

Southern House Spider Image

Did You Know

  • The males are always on the move in search of preys or even female spiders during the mating seasons. The females, on the other hand, remain confined to their dwellings and only move in the need to get hold of the prey stuck in their web.
  • They have a lengthy mating ritual lasting for about an hour in which none of them would move for a considerable period of time.
  • These creatures tend to crawl upon anything alive or dead which comes in their path since they have eyesight so poor that they can’t see what is in front of them.
  • They have a tendency to play dead when threatened, a tactic used against their predators.

Image Credits: Floridanature.org, Bugguide.net, Spiderid.com, Arizonensis.org, C1.staticflickr.com, Sciencesource.com,
Whatsthatbug.com, Backyardnature.net

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