A spider recently put up a web in my room in coastal Virginia, USA (on the left in the photo).

Rounder/taller body than most species I've seen. Dark brown, not quite solid-color coloration. If laying flat, it looks like its body would be about the size of an American dime. Tends to hang with its underbelly pointed upwards, and the times I've watched it feed it has never attempted to wrap prey in silk –- instead, it immediately eats and discards them.

My best guess from what I was able to find online was Araneus diadematus, but the coloration on all the examples of that species I can find seems much more varied than what I'm seeing, and I'm not particularly well-versed in spider identification, so I'm not sure.

The spider on the right was new this morning, I'm less curious about it and presume it was just a male of the same species.

spiders from coastal VA

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Please provide some close-up photos if possible. A Photo of the abdomen and the back are preferential. Thanks $\endgroup$ Jun 21, 2017 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ @theforestecologist Not sure I can get much closer without disturbing the web, but I'll see what I can do when I get home tonight. $\endgroup$ Jun 21, 2017 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


These are very likely one of the common spiders that gets called House Spider, but this variety is one of the comb-footed spiders; the Theridiidae. They're sometimes also called Tangleweb Spiders or something along those lines. They make those messy webs, and hang upside down just as you show. You can tell these guys aren't Araneus or one of the other Araneid orbweavers, because they're not hanging vertically in an orbweb. This particular spider is probably the very variable and common Parasteatoda tepidariorum, and the smaller one is, as you guessed, a male. They will share the web for a day or so until he mates and moves on. You should be aware that the related Black Widow has this same general body shape and habit, and may be stripy and have banded legs like you see in the photo when the females are young. I suspect that was why TFE was asking for better photos - although you probably would have noted the red hourglass before if that was the case. I'm inclined to go with P. tepidariorum, for two reasons: Latrodectus generally (but not always) are sensitive to disturbance, where the common House Spiders don't seem to mind, and the abdomen of the female seems to be a little more randomly patterned (as best we can see) than I would expect for a Latrodectus. Here's a photo of P. tepidariorum with a snack:

enter image description here


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Very informative answer, but again please provide some evidence/support/citations/etc to back up your claims. Even if you know all this to be true, a reader may not, and that reader may not be trained to know what is true/not. We're about teaching people on Bio.SE, so by providing links to useful and supportive materials, you're helping out those that read the question a lot more. [Reputable] Support also helps other users feel more confident in your answer, which often leads to more upvotes (e.g., see here). Thanks! $\endgroup$ Jan 24, 2018 at 0:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .