Giant House-spider - Eratigena atrica

    Alternative names
    Tegenaria gigantea, Eratigena duellica

    Females can reach 18 mm in length, with males having a slightly smaller body at around 12 mm to 15 mm in length. The female leg span is typically around 45 mm. The leg span of the male is highly variable, with spans between 25 mm to 75 mm being common. The genus Tegenaria has recently been split: Tegenaria spp. have banded legs, Eratigena spp. have plain legs. Beyond this distinction, species can only be identified (with difficulty) by examination of the genitals of mature specimens. 

    Similar Species

    These spiders were previously in the genus Tegenaria (with banded legs) but this was changed to Eratigena (with plain legs) a few years ago. Eratigena atrica may represent a complex of three closely-related species but but opinion is split, so these species are frequently referred to as the "Eratigena atrica group" because they are so difficult to separate. Eratigena duellica, E. saeva and E. atrica are all of a similar size and cannot be reliably separated without examining the genitalia. E. atrica is rare and has not been confirmed in VC55. V. saeva has a distribution covering Wales, Western and Northern Britain and has also not been confirmed in VC55. 

    Identification difficulty
    Recording advice

    Examination of the genitalia is required to confirm this species.


    Indoors in dark corners, between boxes etc. where there is little disturbance.

    When to see it

    Males can often be seen wandering around during the late summer and early autumn looking for a mate. Females can reputedly live for several years and can survive for months without food or water.

    Life History

    They make large and substantial sheet webs with a funnel to their safety retreat.

    UK Status

    Common and widespread in Britain but fewer records come from the north.

    VC55 Status

    Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

    Further Information

    2390 British records to Jan 2013

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map