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Spiders in Vancouver

Discussion in 'True Spiders & Other Arachnids' started by Graham Kosinec, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. Graham Kosinec

    Graham Kosinec Arachnopeon

    Later on this month I am visiting my Uncle at Vancouver. I was wondering if there are any large Wolf Spiders or any other big Spiders in the area. Last time I was there he was explaining how sometimes when he comes home at night he would see massive 3-4 inch Spiders on his door. Do they even get that big there?? :?
  2. jsloan

    jsloan Arachnoangel Old Timer

    There is at least one spider in that area that reaches the 3" to 4" leg span range: the "Giant House Spider" Tegeneria duellica. It's a funnel web spider, not a wolf spider.
  3. 8 leg wonder

    8 leg wonder Arachnoangel Old Timer

    I live about an hour away from Van and I've seen giant house spiders with leg spans of at least 4-5 inches
  4. Graham Kosinec

    Graham Kosinec Arachnopeon

    ok thanks. So there are no large Wolf Spiders?
  5. Cooper

    Cooper Arachnoangel Old Timer

    *tegenaria gigantea

    Tegenaria gigantea, the giant or larger house spider (pictured above), is a larger cousin of the hobo spider, T. agrestis, and is in fact the largest member of the genus Tegenaria. Like the hobo and domestic house spiders, gigantea was introduced into North America from Europe; It probably was first introduced on Vancouver Island, B.C. in the mid-1920s, and was likely present in the Seattle area by 1960. The giant house spider has gained a reputation and received much publicity over the past several years as a beneficial spider which keeps hobo spiders out of houses; this reputation seems well founded: In much of western Europe (England, France, Germany and Wales) where agrestis lives in fields , virtually divorced from the human population, gigantea is commonly found inside houses and other buildings. In some areas of the northwestern United States (parts of the Seattle, WA area for example), the establishment of gigantea populations appears to correlate with a reduction in the numbers of hobo spiders.

    T. gigantea superficially looks very much like T. agrestis, and smaller specimens are difficult to distinguish by eye-balling even to the arachnologist. Adult gigantea are larger (16-18mm body length) than agrestis, with proportionally longer legs which are not ringed or banded. The brownish coloration is almost identical for the two species; only the wider, darker margins of the cephalothorax in gigantea distinguish it from agrestis when viewed from a dorsal perspective. The sternum (breast plate) of gigantea is similar to that of T. domestica, exhibiting a pale center, with four small circles in vertical lines on each side, rather than the solid dark margins of agrestis.

    Behaviorally, the giant house spider shares some common traits with the hobo spider, but differs in some other key traits. Like agrestis, gigantea can move quickly, and in fact, until 1987, was listed (under the name Tegenaria atrica) as being the world's "fastest" spider in the Guinness Book of World Records, having been clocked at speeds of up to 1.73 ft/sec (1.17 mph) on a level surface; that honor has now been officially awarded to certain African and Middle Eastern "sun spiders" or solifugids, which are really not spiders at all. Unlike agrestis, which prefers to remain at or near ground level, gigantea has no aversion to heights, often being sighted in lofty areas such as atop curtain cornices, or on other high ledges inside houses (such as the specimen pictured at left, near the ceiling of a Seattle area laundry room). Adult hobo spider and giant house spider males both wander in search of mates in the late summer and early fall; this undoubtedly leads to occasional meeting and confrontation. The giant house spider, being a larger carnivorous arachnid than the hobo spider, very likely preys upon the hobo when the opportunity presents itself, but it's primary role as an agent of competitive exclusion appears to be as a competitor for food and web sites. It is noteworthy that specimens and webs of Tegenaria gigantea are often found beneath the same objects as specimens and webs of T. agrestis, although their respective webs are usually widely separated; Specimens of T. domestica are sometimes found co-existing beneath debris with these two species as well.

    The migration and establishment of giant house spider populations into southern Idaho, northern Utah, and other areas of the upper Great Basin desert has been anticipated and awaited by many as a key to eliminating hobo spider populations. Observations now suggest that gigantea establishment in these areas is unlikely: While gigantea has extended it's North American range eastward and northward from western Washington (specimens have been found as far east as Saskatchewan, Canada), it does not appear to be establishing itself in the more arid, southerly regions within the range of the hobo spider. In these areas Steatoda spiders, particularly Steatoda hespera, appear to be the principal arachnid competitor/predator of T. agrestis.

    Taken from:


    under "Competitors and Predators ", then "European House Spiders and Other Funnel Web Weavers"

    Hope that helps.
  6. Graham Kosinec

    Graham Kosinec Arachnopeon

  7. jsloan

    jsloan Arachnoangel Old Timer

    Synonymous with T. duellica, which, I think, is the current name, though gigantea is still used.

    From Platnick:

    mf duellica Simon, 1875....................Holarctic
    T. d. Simon, 1875a: 83, pl. 5, f. 6 (Dmf).
    T. gigantea Chamberlin & Ivie, 1935b: 31, pl. 13, f. 106 (Dm).
    T. gigantea Exline, 1936b: 21, pl. 1, f. 3 (m).
    T. saeva Simon, 1937: 1003, 1039, f. 1545-1546 (mf, misidentified).
    T. gigantea Exline, 1938: 25, pl. 4, f. 30-31 (m).
    T. gigantea Roth, 1952a: 286, f. 3-5 (Df).
    T. atrica Locket & Millidge, 1953: 10, f. 6A, 7A, 9A, 11B (mf, misidentified).
    T. atrica Roth, 1956b: 176 (S, rejected).
    T. saeva Locket, Millidge & Merrett, 1974: 42, f. 23A, E (mf, misidentified).
    T. propinqua Locket, 1975: 90, f. 2-3, 5, 17-19 (Dmf).
    T. gigantea Crawford & Locket, 1976: 199 (S).
    T. d. Brignoli, 1978e: 271, f. 5-6 (removed mf from S of T. saeva, S).
    T. gigantea Merrett, 1980: 1, f. 1-10, 27-30 (mf).
    T. d. Roberts, 1985: 158, f. 69a, 70a (mf).
    T. gigantea Heimer & Nentwig, 1991: 362, f. 939 (mf).
    T. gigantea Terhivuo, 1993: 53, f. 1c-d (mf).
    T. d. Roberts, 1995: 243, f. (mf).
    T. d. Agnarsson, 1996: 48, f. 31A-B (mf).
    T. d. Roberts, 1998: 261, f. (mf)."

    I'd love to find some of these spiders where I live!
  8. Cooper

    Cooper Arachnoangel Old Timer

    They are everywhere around here, and they get huge.