The tégénaire, big spider of our houses


It must be recognized that the tégénaire does not have an easy physique. Her big body black and its long, hairy paws sometimes fuel the irrational fear referred to asarachnophobia. Yet this spider is also harmless towards man that it is useful in our homes. Close-up on a fearful little insect that would only harm a fly!

The tégénaire: black, domestic, giant

The tegenaries are arachnids of the Agélénidae family. There are 700 species in the world of which at least 62 are native to Europe. Among the most common in France, we can cite the tégénaire domesticated (Tegenaria domestica), the black tegenium also called house tegenaria (Eratigena atrica), the tegénaire of fields (Eratigena agrestis), the giant tegenaria (Tegenaria duellica) or again, the tégénaire of walls (Tegenaria parietina). Its name comes from the Latin Tegenarius, which means blanket, in reference to their tablecloth-shaped canvases.

The tégénaire, a big spider

In general, the tegenaria is a large spider provided with long legs and ranging in color from dark brown to black. Its opisthosome (back and globular part of the body) displays light and dark spots as well as ornamentation orange. In the domestic tegenaria, the cephalothorax (anterior part of the body) is yellow-brown (like its legs) and sometimes has a few patterns. Its abdomen ranges from pale brown to uniform gray. In tegenaria, males are smaller than females. On average, an adult individual measures (including legs) between 5 and 13 cm. From 10 to 20 cm for the tegenaria giant.

The tégénaire, the man’s roommate

Species home (which lives in houses), this spider is generally found in gardens, meadows and especially homes. If the tegenarian domesticated frequent living rooms (bedroom, dining room), other species favor more dark like garages and attics. The black tegenaria prefers recesses wet : bathrooms, cellars, outbuildings, eaves or cavities in stone facades. The tégénaire of walls present in the northern half of France, lives exclusively indoors while in the south, it evolves in the open air, in the holes of rocks and old walls.

The tegenarian traps her food

The tegenarian hunts on the lookout, crouching in its hole, watching for the arrival of a prey in its web that it weaves in the shape of tablecloth. Usually stretched in the corner of a room, the canvas consists of a platform where its victims are trapped and a funnel where the spider hides. The sons are not tights, it is the vibrations caused by a trapped animal that act asalarms. So the tegenarian appears, throws herself on her victim, plants her hooks on her to inject her enzymes toxic then sucks it in. The low toxicity of its venom encourages it to attack only smaller than it. When the vibrations are too much strongis that the prey is large. In this case, the tegenaire does not risk itself outside its funnel. The spider therefore feeds on small insects caught in its threads: midges, flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches and other arthropods.

Reproduction: the caution of the tegenarian male

The male tegenarian reaches its sexual maturity at the end of about ten moults completed in two years. Once its bulbs copulators filled with sperm, he can go in search of a female by perceiving the pheromones that she leaves on her sons. During the breeding season (May-June), the male touches the web of the female with the help of his legs and at a regular to prevent that he is not a prey. If the female goes out, he runs away for fear of being devoured. If she stays in her hole, he joins her carefully then injects her with cum with his pedipalps (the small legs posted at the front).

Eggs protected in a cocoon

From the end of autumn, the female will seek a gland to silk particular located in his abdomen to make a cocoon which she will hide in the depths of her lair. About three weeks to a month of gestation later, the tegenarian will lay her eggs after releasing the sperm stored in her spermatheca. Its forty to sixty eggs, creamy white in color, will remain in their retreat until the following spring. The young remain with their mother until the third moult. Namely that the female can have several broods per year.

The tegenarian female lives longer than the male

You should know that after mating, the male lives in the web of the female for three weeks at most before dying. His untimely death is often due to the long young nuptial which can last several months and which then makes it weak and vulnerable to predators. As for the tegenarian female, she can live from four to five years depending on the species. Its workforce is not in danger and does not benefit from any special protection measures.

The tégénaire is harmless and useful

The tegenarian never attacks man and systematically opts for escape in the event of a threat. Fearful and non-aggressive, she also has hooks far too modest to be able to bite a human. What to do if you see this spider in your house? Nothing ! If its presence bothers you, you can move it to a part of your home where it won’t bother you, such as a garage, cellar or an attic. As we have seen, the tégénaire is a predactor effective insect repellent that captures mosquitoes, midges and flies. It therefore constitutes a precious ally in our homes and, by regulating the insect population, it represents an essential link in the chain food. So let’s let her live!

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