Tegenaria Agrestis, better known as the hobo spider, is a recently introduced species to the United States and Canada, coming from Europe to the Pacific Northwest.
Hobo spiders have been labeled as spiders of medical importance because of the belief that their bites can cause severe pain and potentially necrotic wounds. The research on hobo spiders is incomplete, and no definitive answer regarding their level of danger exists.
Most experts warn against using a picture for a definitive spider identification, including the hobo spider. Given that fact, the picture here shows a spider that has many of the hobo spider’s physical characteristics. There are no bands on the legs and the abdomen has a “v” pattern down the middle.
Compare the picture to the left with the picture below of the giant house spider, another Tegenaria species. The slight differences in the colour of the abdomen and cephalothorax provide another comparative identification clue.
The hobo spider belongs to the funnel web spider family (Agelenidae), and the two spinnerets extending from the bottom of the abdomen are characteristics of funnel web species.
Like other funnel web spiders, they prefer the outdoors, and tend to come indoors during the late fall, as the season changes. Wandering males also are known to wander through the house.
Persons suspecting they have been bitten by a hobo spider should seek medical attention. If circumstances permit, it’s also a good idea to trap the spider and bring it along for a positive identification.
Giant House Spider
At one time or another, many different spider species, from jumping spiders to cellar spiders to wolf spiders and more, find their way into people’s homes.
Technically, the term house spider refers to species in the Tegenaria genus, with three common species found in Canada:
- Tegenaria agrestis – hobo spider
- Tegenaria domestica – domestic or common house spider
- Tegenaria gigantea – giant house spider
The three species look very similar, with the hobo spider commonly considered a species of medical concern. The range of the hobo spider and giant house spider are limited mainly to the Pacific Northwest, although extended ranges to Utah, Montana and the interior BC are reported.
While giant house spiders are large, up to 3” long with their legs extended, their bites are not as dangerous as the hobo spider. In fact, they are considered a natural predator of the hobo spider and their presence is considered as a natural hobo spider pest management remedy.